Friday, October 11, 2013

Peanut-Free Halloween Treats for Classroom Parties or Home

As the time of year draws near where treats and snacks abound, I'd like to just touch quickly on addressing the seriousness of peanut and tree nut allergies.  Many children, like my son, have life-threatening allergies to these foods.  While we thoroughly enjoy our holidays, this is the time of the year where our stress level increases significantly because treats abound and we have to be very diligent about keeping our little guy safe.  If your child does not suffer from food allergies, please find it in your heart to respect those who do and be kind, especially if you are assisting with classroom parties.  I can assure you that we, as parents of a child with a food allergy, are not being over-protective or difficult by advocating for nut-free classrooms.  We understand that your child may not be able to celebrate with some of their favorite foods. The reason we are vigilant is really quite simple:  our children can die from a nut.  Yes, my son has an Epi-Pen, but the goal is to not have to use it and it is not a way to "cure" a reaction.  It just buys time until medical professionals can get to him.  Even then, there is no guarantee.  Speaking from personal experience, anaphylactic reactions are very scary and dangerous.  I have had two myself (I suffer from a bee sting allergy).  Please remember that these children did not choose this path.  Be kind, be empathetic, and teach your children to be the same.  We thank you.

Okay, now that my PSA is over let's get to it!  With Halloween just three weeks away, it's time to start planning those classroom parties!  This year I have two to plan for and am looking forward to helping in both of my kid's classrooms.  Given that many classrooms are now nut-free, I thought I'd share some fun treats that are peanut/tree nut safe since we have a lot of practice with this!  Many schools require you to bring pre-packaged food and all of these ideas will accommodate those rules.  You will notice that I have suggested brands with each idea.  These are brands that I have found to be peanut/tree nut safe.  Please double check the labels, however, as there are times that the manufacturing lines have been compromised and there may be a warning present!

Ghost Pudding

This one is quick and easy!  Draw round ghost eyes and mouth on a cup of Hunts Vanilla Snack Pack pudding.  

Scary, right?

Jack-o-lantern Cookies

Purchase Pillsbury sugar cookie dough.  Cut out in pumpkin shapes.  Spread with Betty Crocker Halloween frosting.  Make a face using Hershey Chocolate Chips.

4-year-old made independently!

Halloween Sandwiches

 For this you will need Sara Lee Soft and Smooth Whole Wheat or Whole Grain White bread, Kraft or Borden Cheese Slices, and 20 deli turkey slices.  Assemble a sandwich and cut out with an assortment of Halloween cookie cutters.

Ghost sandwich

Witch's Brew

In a witch's cauldron, create a mix of Honey Teddy Grahams, Rold Gold Pretzel Sticks, and Kraft marshmallows.  


Place Betty Crocker vanilla frosting between two Nabisco Nilla Wafers.  Break Rold Gold Pretzel Sticks in half and stick in frosting.  Or place Sunbutter between two Ritz Crackers and place Rold Gold Pretzel Sticks in the Sunbutter.  

Nilla Wafer Spider 

Jack-o-lantern Mandarin Orange Cups and Mummy Juice Boxes

Draw a face on the lid of a Dole Mandarin Orange Cup.  Remove straw from a juice box and wrap with white crepe paper (make sure to leave top open for straw) and tape.  Draw on eyes with a sharpie or glue on googly eyes. 

Mummy juice box

Ghost Cheese

Using Borden or Kraft string cheese, draw a ghost face on the package.

Great for the lunch box, too!

Witch's Hats

Place a dab of frosting on top of an Oreo cookie and place a Hershey Kiss on top.  (Make sure to double check Hershey Kiss package as their seasonal items may be different than the regular!)

You can remove the frosting and just use the top/bottom, but they taste better this way!  

Halloween Fruit

Draw a Jack-o-lantern face on a clementine, peel some grapes to make squishy eyes, cut a banana in half and poke some Hershey Chocolate Chips in where the eyes and mouth should be.

Mummy Dogs

If you have an oven handy, wrap an Oscar Meier turkey dog in a Pillsbury Crescent Roll.  You can also place a half slice of Market Pantry cheese on the crescent roll before adding the hot dog.  Bake per Crescent Roll directions on a parchment paper lined pan for easy clean up!

Mummy dogs all ready to cook