- Caramel apples are fun for everyone, especially on Halloween. Here’s how to make your own caramel apple monsters and a few tips to save your sanity (and you kid’s health) below:
- 1, 14-ounce bag individually wrapped caramel candies (about 50)
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 4 to 6 medium apples (I used Granny Smith)
- Craft sticks
- Assorted candies
- Place the unwrapped caramels in a shallow microwave-safe bowl.
- Mix in the milk and microwave on high for 2 minutes, stirring after 1 minute (the caramels will keep their shape as they soften, so be sure to stir them).
- When the caramels are melted, remove the dish from the microwave with pot holders and stir the sauce until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Generously butter a baking sheet. Twist off the apple stems and spear each fruit with a craft stick.
- Roll one apple in the caramel sauce until it’s thoroughly coated. Place it, stick pointing up, on the baking sheet (After rolling, hold the apple upright so the sauce slides down the sides).
- Working quickly, coat the remaining apples in the caramel sauce. The caramel coating will be gooey, so refrigerate the apple for 15 minutes or until the caramel is slightly hardened.
- Holding the apple by the stick, use candy to turn it into a monster.
- Refrigerate again until the caramel is hardened and the candy is set. Makes 4 to 6.
Set out a variety of candies and let your kids choose their favorite scary faces! I don’t know about you, but the blue eyes really get me!
Many parents feel that holidays like Halloween can derail their healthy eating efforts, but remember, Halloween is just one day. Below are a few tips that will make this your family’s best Halloween yet:
- Have a dinner plan. Feed your clan a nutritious family meal that represents all of the food groups. Involve your kids by letting them choose the menu and help prepare the meal.
- Try new treat ideas. You don’t have to use the same old Halloween candy you have given out in the past. Make this year different! Hand out mini bags of popcorn, chips, pretzels, trail mixes, packs of sugar free gum, toys, stickers, granola bars, fruit snacks, crayons, or other treats. Your kids will probably be getting PLENTY of traditional candy elsewhere. Keeping nutritious (and homemade) Halloween treats in your home will also help prevent the whole family from grazing on leftover candy.
- Start a family Halloween tradition. Take the focus away from candy and trick or treating. Start your own Halloween family tradition with pumpkin carving, making costumes, or spooky-themed scavenger hunts.
- Set the treat ground rules. Does your child trick or treat and come home with a huge stash of candy? Allow him to choose a set amount of pieces on Halloween to eat that day. Let them pick the ones they want! And don’t be a Scrooge–it is Halloween after all!
- After the excitement is over. Parents do lots of different things to keep candy in control. Some stash it away and set out a number of pieces to eat daily. Some freeze it and use throughout the year or save it to give away next year. I relax my Fun Food rule and let my kids go at it (within reason) for a week, then the candy goes “bye-bye.”
Remember, Halloween is a fun day for kids and adults and is meant to be enjoyed. One night of trick or treating does not make a bad parent or an unhealthy child. Have a big time!
How do you manage sweets and make Halloween fun for your family?
Contributing Author: Katherine Fowler, MS, RD, LDN