By Jessica P, Contributing Writer
Our family has done the trick-or-treat thing. So I’m not here to tell you NOT to trick-or-treat or do any other Halloween related activities. Families come down on either side of that issue and for sure, there’s the good, the bad and the ugly about the whole thing.
But that discussion is a whole other post.
This year, however, we’ve decided to throw a Harvest Party for our kids and a few of their friends. Why, you ask? Well, I pretty much let my oldest daughter take the lead on this. She’s a sensitive sort and just not comfortable with Halloween–with some of the more sinister, gruesome decorations. Or with the risqué costumes that seem to be marketed to younger and younger girls. I’m proud of her insight in this department, so I eagerly supported her decision.
They’ll still be fun costumes, plenty of party food, and games WAY more fun than an hour or two of trick-or-treat. Let the planning begin!
Real Food Party Treats
Of course, one of my major complaints with trick-or-treating has been the BAGS of sugar my kids would bring home. I don’t know which is worse, eating it in rapid fashion, or having just a piece or two a day and having it live in your house FOREVER. (I always find it insane that we load up our kids on plenty of sugar just as the cold and flu season kicks off — since sugar lowers your immunity anyway.)
Once my youngest was diagnosed with dairy, peanut, wheat and corn allergies the entire event became even more futile. Now I can plan plenty of allergy free, low sugar or refined sugar free treats for my kids and their friends. This is where I have fun!
GMO-free seasoned stove popped popcorn: if you’ve never popped your popcorn on the stove in coconut oil — do it. Now. You’ll thank me. The flavor is amazing! Now it’s ready for all your lovely toppings. Sea salt, garlic, parmesan cheese and cracked pepper are my favorite. But there are loads of options out there. This recipe for dairy free Dorito flavored popcorn sounds awesome!
Trail mix: I’m planning one with pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, dried fruit and mini chocolate chips.
Sweets: Now, if I planned a party without something for the sweet tooth, the children (and their friends) might revolt. But we’re trying to curb the refined sweeteners as much as we can. These are some of the sweets I have planned.
- –These grain free/honey sweetened brownies (pictured above) are my favorite. Chewy, fudgy, yum.
- –Mini pumpkin muffins–I’m thinking of giving these a try–gluten free, soaked and refined sugar free
- –These Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Lollipops (only I’ll use almond butter)
While I might be perfectly content to go to an event that majored on food, the kids want more. So bring out the games!
For our party, we’ve got some classic fall games planned like bobbing for apples, and a feed sack race/obstacle course in the yard (hopefully the weather will cooperate). The last time we did this, the kids played some Minute to Win It games too.
Here’s some to choose from:
- Toilet paper wrap up–Each team has to wrap a volunteer in an entire roll of toilet paper. First one to use the entire roll wins!
- Fuzzy Noses–Players must transfer cotton balls from one bowl to another using nothing but their nose dipped in petroleum jelly.
- Penny Hose–Player must remove 1 penny from each leg of a pair of panty hose using only their hands. (I can’t wait to see this one!)
- Apple Stack–Players race to see who can stack 5 apples on top of one another.
- Hut, Hut, Hike!–Bend over and hike toilet paper rolls between your legs and through a hoop 15 feet away.
- A Bit Dicey–Balance six dice on a popsicle stick held in your mouth.
For loads more games, check out the NBC website!
If there’s time left over, we’ll probably take turns with some archery practice and a campfire.
Planning Ahead to Keep Your Sanity
Like you, I have plenty of other things to do besides party planning all week. So I’m working ahead. I already have the brownies made and in the freezer. I’ll probably do the same with the muffins. I can mix up the trail mix a day or two ahead of time, too.
Delegate. You can be sure I’ll have my kids help clean the house, set out the food and get the games prepared. It takes some pressure off of me and teaches them to be a hospitable host.
Decorations. We’re keeping it simple with some inexpensive pumpkins I picked up at Aldi, some cornstalks I offered to clean up out of my neighbor’s garden and a hay bail or two.
See, it’s simple, really. Nothing too costly or complicated. But still a good time. Even if you’re reading this and Halloween has come and gone, take advantage of this fall season and throw a Harvest Party with your family and friends!