Halloween is fast approaching and the supermarket shelves have been filled with all sorts of themed chocolates and lollies. As I was wandering the isles and inspecting what’s on offer to hand out to trick or treating kids (after you’ve eaten half of the pack yourself in the lead up to the big day), I tried to figure out how this fits in with my values.
I love the seasons and celebrating them. Generally I like to embrace any event that warrants buying or making special food for, but something didn’t sit right with me this year.
Dilemma no 1 – processed sweets
Look. I’ve got nothing against the occasional processed treat. It’s the sheer volume of it, on special occasions like Halloween, that makes me shudder.
But do I want to be the weird lady from number 10 handing out carrot sticks?
Do I want happy kids bouncing away from our house in a sugar craze?
Umm, maybe. Not my kids, right! … just kidding ;).
I’d like them to be somewhat impressed with what they got though.
So what to do about this?
Dilemma no 2 – enormous amounts of waste
I haven’t grown up with Halloween but I went to High School in the USA and have happily adopted it as special food event. It’s not really the norm here in Australia either but the supermarkets sure make us believe that we need to buy individually wrapped little ghost shaped treats to hand out, and all sorts of tacky decoration to go with it.
Trouble is, I couldn’t bring myself to buy anything. The waste that is created by producing cheap themed plastic goods which are being used for one day and then thrown out is enormous and then there is all the plastic wrapping of single lollies and chocolates.
But do I want to be a party pooper? Hell no!
Do I want little kids in costumes knocking at our door and Finn looking at them wide eyed while handing over candy? Absolutely!
So now what?
How to find middle ground
Sometimes our values can make us feel anxious about not living up to our own expectations. It’s so easy to place a lot of additional stress on ourselves by trying to be perfect. I’ve come to realize that I simply can’t be fabulous at all aspects of my life all the time. Too. Much. Pressure!
If there’s one thing I have learned to embrace as a mother,
it’s short cuts, convenience and compromise.
It is just a matter of how I can make it work each time when I’m faced with a value dilemma like this. Homemade is better than processed by a mile, but this tired mum is not going to stand in the kitchen and create elaborate Halloween treats. It’s just not going to happen. If you are up for that, rock on and please share the goodies because I will happily eat what you present me with, but for me, shortcuts and convenience is the way to go at the moment.
My solution for the sweet dilemma is baking simple pumpkin pie spiced shortbread biscuits.
It’s our family shortbread recipe which consists of only 4 main ingredients and a pinch of salt. That means you can even use organic ingredients without breaking the bank. It’s so simple I can do it half asleep, and so can you! I found a cookie stamp for $5.- at Coles with three designs. Genius! I liked the scary pumpkin head so amended the shortbread recipe to include a dash of pumpkin pie spice: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and some turmeric for colour. Then it was only a matter of forming a log, cutting off pieces and stamping them. A matter of minutes if you do it on your own, or much fun to with the kids.
And because I remember well being a kid and enjoying sweets, I know that homemade biscuits are not going to cut it on their own. So I added in some chocolate balls from Aldi for $2.- a bag.
This also solves my waste dilemma:
- Not a lot of individually plastic wrapped sweets
- I’ll use small paper bags to package up portions for the kids
- Decoration is a carved pumpkin outside our door 🙂
So there you have it, I found my shortcut in baking simple Halloween biscuits that still feel a bit special and I allowed myself the convenience of buying some sweet treats as well because I know that the kids will enjoy it. All the while accepting the compromise that this is as fancy as it’s going to get this year and whilst it’s not completely waste and refined sugar free, it’s close enough for me.
What do you think about Halloween and which treats do you choose to buy or bake for your kids? Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear from you.
Much love and Happy Halloween,