Halloween is fast approaching. The store shelves have been stocked with colourful boxes of tiny candies and treats. The bins of Halloween decorations are being lugged up from the basement. Pumpkin spice is EVERYWHERE. Kids are making their costume requests and then changing their minds over and over again.
My favourite part of Halloween is the variety of deliciously spooky and silly recipes that people make to celebrate the holiday. It really is the perfect time to get creative and have fun with food. With my kids packing a boring lunch for school every single day, I like to take advantage of Halloween to put together something extra special in their lunch boxes.
I know you might be thinking that you don’t have enough time to make special lunches, and I hear you. But they can be pulled together quickly. The big bonus, your kids might actually eat their vegetables.
Pumpkin Patch Lunch Box
If you want to skip the scary, be inspired by a jack-o’-lantern lunch. A silly jack-o’-lantern sandwich is a good place to start. All you need is a pumpkin shaped cookie cutter, a knife and a little imagination.
Begin by using the cookie cutter to cut 2 pumpkin shapes from the slices of bread. Use the same cookie cutter to cut a pumpkin shape from a slice of cheese. The sandwich can be filled with whatever your kid likes, use the pumpkin cookie cutter to make shapes in meat and other veggies. With the knife, cut the orange eyes and the mouth from the cheese scraps. Stack up the sandwich and arrange the jack-o’-lantern face.
Okay, next up: these adorable carrot pumpkins. They might look a little complicated – but they are totally doable. Begin by peeling a large carrot. Then chop the carrot down to a 4 inch piece, this will be a much easier size to work with.
To make the pumpkin “stalk”, run your knife, about 1cm deep, along the side of the carrot. Now, slant the knife to cut a “v” shape about half a centimeter from the first slice. You should be able to remove the “v” of carrot. Now cut a second “v”, about half a centimeter from the original downward slice.
Once you remove the two “v’s” you have made the stalk of the carrot. If you want to round off the top of the pumpkin, simply stand the carrot on end and run your knife down the carrot, slicing off the pointy top of the pumpkin.
Lay the carrot down and slice little carrot pumpkins. One large carrot will make a whole pile of little pumpkins.
To make the jack-o’-lantern orange all you will need is a black marker. Since the skin won’t be eaten, using the marker is fine. Don’t forget to wash the orange before you draw the face on.
We finished off our pumpkin patch lunch box with slices of orange pepper (a sweeter kid-approved variety of pepper), green grapes and a few chocolate jack-o’-lanterns. Add a container of your kid’s favourite dip to further encourage them to eat those veggies.
Creepy Spider Lunch Box
How fun is this spider web pizza? In the time it takes to warm up your broiler, you can have this little pizza prepped and ready to go. Start by turning on your broiler to preheat the oven. English muffins make a super simple base for kid-friendly pizzas.
Spread a tablespoon of tomato sauce onto the English muffin. Next, with a slice of mozzarella or Havarti (my kids love Havarti), use a sharp knife to cut 4 long slices and 8 small slices. Lay the cheese slices over the tomato sauce in a web pattern. Place the pizzas on a baking sheet and pop them under the broiler for a few quick minutes – until the cheese melts. Done.
Now, about those spider cookies. Again, they aren’t as difficult to make as you may think. Start with your favourite sugar cookie – either a home baked recipe or a store bought fave. To make the silly spider, simply use black icing to draw a large dot and spider legs. This icing will adhere the mini rolo spider in place. The finishing touch is the sugar eyes, which you can find at bulk food stores or cake decorating supply store. Again, use the icing to adhere the eyes in place. Your silly spiders are complete.
Finish off the spider lunch box with sliced cucumbers, a big pile of grapes and a few plastic creepy crawlers. Don’t forget the spider orange – made the same way as the jack-o’-lantern orange.
There are a few finishing details that you can totally skip if you’re out of time, but they will take your lunch box from fun to awesomeness.
To create your own green grassy field for the lunch boxes, you will need green construction paper and scissors. Cut a narrow strip of green construction paper, you will probably need a few strips, depending on the size of your container. Use the scissors to cut ¾ of the way down the strip – creating blades of grass. Slide the paper grass around the edges of the container. Finally, green or purple cupcake liners, make perfectly festive dividers for larger containers. Flip them inside out so the bright colours are visible.
Enjoy! Happy Halloween!