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  • Healthy Halloween Treats That Are So Good It’s Scary

    Halloween is one of the biggest candy holidays of the year.  According to the National Retail Federation, it’s projected Americans will spend approximately $2.7 billion on candy this year.

    halloween treats

    On top of trick-or-treating, this is the time for Halloween parties galore.  This only means more candy, plus cupcakes and cookies and a whole host of other sweets, too.

    But food allergies are on the rise in children and many school classrooms have become peanut-free zones.  On top of that, parents are becoming more and more health-conscious and are looking for alternatives to all the sugar and cavity-inducing treats. Good thing there a ton of healthy options out there to celebrate your Halloween.

    Here are a few healthy Halloween treats:

    Skeleton Veggie Tray

    Grab your favorite vegetables and get those creative juices flowing as you sculpt this skeleton veggie tray that won’t add any unnecessary fat to your bones.

    Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

    After carving your Jack-o-Lantern with the kids, don’t toss out the seeds.  Cook them up for a tasty, healthy treat.  Season them to be salty, sweet, spicy or however your taste buds prefer.

    Mummy Celery Sticks

    Crisscross some deli ham strips to replicate a mummy’s garb, add some cranberry eyes and you’ve got a new Halloween take on a classic veggie snack.  This could be a fun option for the kids’ school parties.

    Monster Tacos

    Serve up a frighteningly yummy dinner to family for a little Halloween fun on your next Taco Tuesday.

    Witch Smoothie

    The kids will be sure to get a kick out of this smoothie with the face of a witch.  Follow the recipe or change it up to whatever fruits you have on hand.

    Pumpkin or Ghost Cake

    Bake up a cake for dessert and opt for an allergen-free recipe, such as this chocolate cake free of gluten and dairy, and use these cute, mini cake pans in the shape of a Jack-o-Lantern or Ghost.

    These are only a few ideas, but the options are endless in bringing a little health to your candy-filled Halloween this year.  You won’t have to trick anyone into eating these yummy, yet healthy, Halloween treats.

  • Tips for Hosting a Successful Halloween Party at Home

    Are you thinking of hosting a Halloween party in your home, but need ideas and tips on making it fun for everyone? Entertaining can be a bit overwhelming at times, whether it’s hosting a dinner party at home, or planning a family-friendly atmosphere that entertains adults and children alike.

    halloween party

    Halloween is no exception. In fact, sometimes it’s one of the most difficult themed parties to make all ages happy and comfortable. For example, ghoulish Halloween decorations could be a little too scary for young children. Yet, some of the decorations and activities for kids might be too juvenile and maddening for the adults.

    But, there are tips for hosting a successful Halloween party at home…

    The Invitation

    At least a couple weeks before the party, get your invitations out to the guest list. There are various methods for sending out invitations, from traditional snail mail to effective use of the Internet. If you choose the Internet, you can email invitations, set up an “event” on Facebook, or use an electronic invitation app to get the word out to your guests. However, you might want to consider having a few invitations to mail out, or make some calls to those you don’t have on your friend’s list or in your email contacts.

    On the invitations or event page, make sure to have the date, time it starts, time it ends, location, and any other valuable information, such as costumes, bring a dish to pass, if kids are included, or anything else you want your guests to know prior to walking through the door.

    Halloween Decorations for the Party

    Plan on how you want to decorate, then search DIY sites such as Pinterest for creative ideas. They will have some fun ways to decorate your home party for Halloween. An example would be spreading cotton thinly to make spider webs on the tables and lamps. For quick and easy, pick up cobweb in a can.

    However, if you are having everyone come in costume, you could get away with going light on the decorating, and focus on other areas instead. The costumes could add to the holiday décor.

    Halloween Party Menu

    Deciding what you want to serve should be planned well in advance. The food takes the most time to prepare, both in shopping and cooking. Of course, you could always have it catered. But many people prefer to prepare their own food, and consider the following:

    • - Keep the guest list in mind, from those with allergies to age appropriate
    • - Write out a menu and start organizing recipes, at least a week ahead
    • - Make a shopping list
    • - Buy non-perishable items early, so you have more time to prep and cook
    • - Prepare dishes a day or two before, if possible
    • - Figure out how much time you need to prepare and cook, so the timing is right
    • - Don’t forget the beverages, and have a variety

     

    You can also use food to help decorate your party, such as using a fun pumpkin mold or a ghost mold to make an edible decoration for the table. Pinterest will also have great ideas for Halloween themed food and beverage, as well as festive kitchen and dining room ideas.

    Music and Lighting

    Don’t forget the music and lighting, which can enhance any party. This should also be planned ahead, especially if you want Halloween themed music to be playing. Download and create playlists of the music you want to play. Then get it ready to play, so you just have to push the “play” button when the guests arrive. This also includes the volume. Adjust that before people start arriving.

    Lighting for a Halloween party can be spooky and darker than most other parties. Some help for that could be flashlights shining on things you want to spotlight, such as the food or décor. Use string lighting and drape it over assorted items in the house. Most importantly, if you want candles, use flameless. With all the costumes, there will be a higher risk of someone bumping candles.

    Activities

    Having activities is more important if children are invited. But, adults also like to have some Halloween fun. Keeping to a Halloween theme, an easy one is to place certain foods into brown bags, then have the guests reach in to feel the item and guess what it is. For instance, peeled grapes might feel like eyeballs, cold cooked spaghetti could be brains.

    Another idea is to blow up several balloons, and put a small token in each one. Separate the participants into 2 teams, and then each team line up in single file. One from each side runs to the center to grab a balloon, sit on it until it pops, and grabs the token. The team with the most tokens wins. You can get several small Halloween tokens at a dollar store.

    You can find some other cool ideas here.

    Time to Say Goodnight

    Have a goody bag to hand out to the children just before they leave the party. Items such as candy, glow sticks, and spider rings are easy and inexpensive. If you decide to hand it out when they arrive, or during the party, you run the risk of someone losing their bag of goodies, or creating more mess than you want.

    The above are some simple tips on hosting a fun Halloween party at home. Most of all though, have fun!

  • DIY Candy Recipes to Rival Any Store-Bought Halloween Candy

    Beyond the fun costumes and scary décor, when it comes to Halloween it’s all about the Halloween candy.  Kids can’t wait to trick-or-treat for some and parents can’t wait to sneak a little from the loot when the kids aren’t looking.

    halloween candy

    Not that consumers need an excuse to buy candy at any time of the year, but come Halloween the retail industry is banking billions in candy sales.  According to the National Retail Federation, 95 percent of Americans celebrating Halloween plan to purchase candy.

    Everyone has their favorite candy from chocolates to gummies; the options are seemingly endless.  But sometimes there’s just nothing like a good, homemade candy to satisfy your sweet tooth.

    To take a different candy approach this Halloween, here a few DIY candy recipes.

    DIY Halloween Candy

    Peanut Butter Cups

    These scrumptious peanut butter cups are not only easy to make, but there are plenty of variations for your preferred chocolate and/or nut butter taste.

    Rock Candy

    This is a yummy, cinnamon-flavored rock candy recipe that is sure to be a hit with family and friends.  Try other variations that can also double as a cool science experiment for the kids.

    Chocolate Molds

    Find some Halloween-themed candy molds, sold at your local hobby store, melt some chocolates and have a scary good treat. As a variation, you could make lollipops like these ghost or pumpkin ones.

    Peanut Brittle

    A classic like Grandma used to make, peanut brittle is a mainstay in the homemade candy world.

    Truffles

    A soft, creamy inside with a chocolate shell…what could be better?  This one is an Oreo-based truffle, but truffle options are numerous.

    Fudge

    Another DIY candy staple; flavor options and mix-ins abound.

    This is just a few of the many homemade candy recipes that are out there to try.  Don’t forget you’ll need a good candy thermometer for trying some of these recipes as well.  You can find one here.

    So, step outside the retail Halloween candy box, and give it a try yourself.  Your taste buds will thank you.

  • Decorating Your Restaurant for Halloween

    This October, decorate your restaurant to match the season and give patrons a fun dining experience. Consider putting up some Halloween decorations as well as creating themed desserts and centerpieces. Adding a little bit of a spooky atmosphere and creating some Halloween related features will make your patrons excited to dine there. When decorating your restaurant for Halloween, just remember to keep it tame enough for patrons of all ages to enjoy. They will be “dying” to eat at your place all month!

    decorating your restaurant for halloween

    Halloween Décor

    You know that fun, festive feeling you get when you walk into someone’s home who has decorated for Halloween? Or the exciting atmosphere when you visit a decked-out costume shop? Chase that feeling at your restaurant, too. Spending a little extra cash and a late night or two setting up Halloween décor can really make eating at your restaurant during October a whole lot of fun for guests and their families.

    Spider Webs

    A simple way to spread the Halloween spirit is by putting up faux spider webs across the walls and on other permanent fixtures. These Halloween decorations are easy to incorporate into other spooky displays and can be spread out enough to make the entire place feel decorated. They are inexpensive and very easy to put up. You also don’t need to worry about freaking out any patrons either with this simple, all-ages Halloween decoration.

    Pumpkins & Jack-o-Lanterns

    Picking up a few pumpkins to place around the restaurant are a nice, low maintenance way to decorate for Halloween. They will last on a display for a week or more (depending on ripeness) and can be carved into jack-o-lanterns once you approach Halloween day. You might even be able to make a treat of roasted pumpkin seeds after you carve them!

    Baked Goods Display

    Even if you don’t normally do a pastry case, consider adding a display of Halloween baked goods this season. Putting some themed pastries in a display case will not only sell more desserts, but can act as a bit of a Halloween decoration just in itself. Select a clear, simple case to show your baked goods and get customer’s mouth’s watering for Halloween!

    Center Pieces

    Deck out your tables with Halloween inspired center pieces for a fun environment for guests to eat in. Even if this just means adding a tea light and mini pumpkin to small tables, this will still add a great touch of seasonality for patrons. If you have the space, consider doing a vase of dried stems and flowers along with some Halloween accessories such as faux crows or mini broomsticks. Guests will love the extra details to complete their Halloween experience. As an extra touch, bring the Halloween vibe to what they are eating too by adding some October food and drink menu items this month.

    Keep it Family Friendly

    When decorating your restaurant for Halloween, keep the general atmosphere on the family friendly side. This doesn’t mean you can’t do anything spooky or a little creepy, but stay away from anything especially gory or scary for young children. Parents won’t appreciate it if their small children are terrified the entire meal and staff will eventually get tired of screaming toddlers. If you do have anything creepy you’d like to put out, just consider keeping it in an adult area like at the bar.

    Decorating Your Restaurant for Halloween

    There is no reason that Halloween decorations need to be exclusive to homes. Bring the fun to both your staff and patrons by decorating your restaurant for Halloween this year. Add a few features to your décor, centerpieces, and even baked goods display. Keep customers coming back all month long to enjoy the festive atmosphere.

  • Fun October Food and Drink Menu Items

    There is a crisp in the air and the scent of apple cider on the wind - fall is finally here! Draw in customers to your restaurant or bar during this chilly season by adding some fun October food and drink menu items to the docket. By including a mix of classic fall dishes and Halloween themed items, you can keep a few new delicacies on your menu through the coming months, but still cater to those Halloween loving customers. And don’t forget – not only will patrons love the themed food, but you’ll likely grab yourself a little extra publicity on social media with these enjoyable seasonal dishes!

    october food blog

    Pumpkin Soup

    Nothing says fall and Halloween quite like pumpkins. Add some pumpkin soup to your menu this month for a dish that is both festive and comforting. Pumpkin soup is an easy entrée for the kitchen staff to make a large quantity of and save for use over a few days. There are a number of recipes out there that include different types of squash, potatoes, lentils, and other yummy fall ingredients. And don’t forget the fixings! Serve your pumpkin soup with sour cream, parsley, and crackers. Your fall-loving patrons will really enjoy a little bit of pumpkin among your October food and drink menu items.

    Stuffed Jack-o-Lantern Bell Peppers

    The visual of jack-o-lantern stuffed bell peppers just screams Halloween. It is a fun dish for a kid’s menu, but don’t forget, adults love themed food too! Don’t be afraid of going “full Halloween” in October, your patrons will love it. And better yet, themed foods are also highly shareable on social media. Invite the extra attention by putting a few really unique, themed food items on your October menu.

    Caramel Apples

    Caramel apples are not just for fairs and parties. Add this popular October treat to your dessert menu or pastry display case for a delicious and nostalgic fall indulgence. For a little extra convenience for the customers, pre-slice the apples. Not only are caramel apples difficult to slice, but some patrons may just want a slice or two and not the whole shebang.

    Halloween Drinks

    There are a number of great Halloween themed drinks out there, from zombie shots to vampire martinis. Adding a few October food and drink menu items will encourage patrons to indulge a little on a fun drink and probably spend a few extra bucks in the process too. Adding some grenadine and crushed maraschino cherries makes a great “blood” illusion, and green/blue drinks are perfect for zombie themed beverages. Halloween drinks are also a lot of fun to share, so expect a little bit of extra social media traffic too!

    Homemade Apple Cider

    Nothing quite reminds you of a crisp fall day like a glass of homemade apple cider. Consider making a batch in-house from scratch for a great, homey touch to your October food and drink menu. Apple cider is best made in large batches so it is not too inconvenient on kitchen staff to make it from scratch, and patrons will really enjoy the extra touch of fall nostalgia.

    Fun October Food and Drink Menu Items

    Give patrons a reason to make their way to your establishment this fall. Themed food and drink menu additions this October will add a fun and personal touch to your bar or restaurant, and keep customers coming back for more!

    Read more from Crave blog here.

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