Halloween never used to be this much of a ‘thing’ when I was a kid. Costumes were made out of whatever you had lying around the house, rather than pre-bought from your local supermarket. I remember on more than one occasion wearing a witch’s cape made out of a bin bag. We carved suedes if we were lucky; definitely no pumpkins and we definitely didn’t decorate our houses with fake cobwebs and skeletons.
Like so many of my mummy friends, I’m just not sure when it became the event that it now is. As soon as I became a parent, I noticed it everywhere. When Little Miss E was nine months old, we went to our first Halloween party, hosted by one of my NCT friends. All of our little ones were dressed as baby pumpkins, skeletons and witches and we spent ages trying to get all of them to pose for the obligatory group shot.
The general consensus seems to be: ‘Blame America. It’s not a British tradition.’ And that might be true, yet every year I find myself embracing it. My children love any excuse to dress up, and I love seeing them and their little friends in their little outfits. They get invited to a lot of Halloween parties, and it’s always good to be able to socialise with the other parents while the little ones
get tanked up on sugary treats play.
I thought we’d share a couple of easy-to-make Halloween dishes this week – spooky spaghetti heads and chocolate coated apples. These are both easy recipes that children can help to make, as well as being fairly healthy options. I love that both of these work as an activity and something to eat… mummy multi-tasking at its best!
Spooky spaghetti pepper heads
Ingredients – serves 4
4 bell peppers
Your choice of pasta sauce or bolognaise
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees, gas mark 4.
- Slice off the tops of the peppers, keeping the tops and stalks in tact. Scoop out the seeds. Use a sharp knife to carve out a spooky face. Place on a baking tray and cook for 10 minutes or so until they are warm but not softening too much.
- While the peppers are in the oven, cook the spaghetti according to packet instructions, drain and rinse with clean boiled water. Mix the spaghetti with the sauce or bolognaise.
- Fill the peppers with the spaghetti and sauce, pulling a few strands of spaghetti through the eyes, nose and mouth. Put the lids back on and serve immediately.
You could use any kind of pasta really, or even stuff with cous cous, quinoa or rice if you prefer. And, of course, the faces don’t have to be spooky if you don’t want them to be.
Chocolate coated apples
Ingredients – serves 4
4 bamboo or wooden skewers
Assorted dessert sprinkles
- Wash and dry the apples, remove stalks, and insert the skewer, making sure the sharp tip remains inside the apple and doesn’t poke through.
- Melt 200g chocolate either in the microwave (cooking chocolate works best) or in a glass bowl over a simmering pan of boiled water and stir frequently.
- Remove the bowl from the heat, dip the apples into the melted chocolate so that they are coated. You might need to use a spoon to help.
- Dip into a bowl of sprinkles.
- Allow to set at room temperature. Eat immediately, or keep stored in the fridge.