THE BLOG
03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Healthy Halloween in Colorado

Halloween or Samhain (pronounced sow-en),
translates to “Summer’s End” and originated as a
Celtic celebration when winter settled over the land, a time of endings and new
beginnings.  Ancients called it a
time of "betwixt and between," a time when the "veil between the
worlds was thin." It has also been known as All Hallow’s Eve, and Spirit
Night and believed to have been celebrated from between 4,000 to 6,000 years
ago. Bonfires were lit to provide assurance of rebirth and a return to life in
the spring. The word, "Halloween," has its
origins in the Catholic Church from a combination of All Hallows Eve. It is a
good time to give back anything borrowed and get back anything lent out.

Masks
and costumes represent spirits of the deceased and allowed people to be hidden
from possible evil. A banquet feast was laid out, sharing the fruits of the
harvest with both seen and unseen friends and at the end of the celebration;
the costumed folk would escort the spirits out of town.  This was also the time of year when the
Romans honored Pomona, goddess of fruits, thanking her for the bounty of the
harvest. Orange represents harvest, and black the color of nature at rest. Irish immigrants fleeing their country’s potato famine
brought the custom of Halloween to America in the 1840’s.

Decorating
pumpkins is actually a New World idea, as pumpkins are from the Americas, and
turnips were available in Europe. Turnips and apples were decorated in Europe
as Jack o’ lanterns and fitted with a candle. Traditionally one lantern was
decorated for each child in the household.

Many
of us delight in this harvest time festival and love the excuse to dress as our
inner or weirder selves. Dress up with your kids and go out and meet the
neighbors! Face painting may be safer than sending kids out with masks. Or
dress up to answer the door. Have fun!

Rather
than this being an excuse for a junk food fest, here are few ideas to celebrate this
holiday that don’t leave you or your kids feeling ill for the next week.   

How
lovely to take the chill off the autumn eve with apple cider spiced with
cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg! Holiday goodies you can prepare for your family
might include: Pumpkin seeds roasted 
(or dehydrated) with a bit of tamari. From Gold Mine Natural Food

Decorating a
pizza  (gluten and dairy free? Try Amy's)  by making a Jack o’
lantern face with various vegetables. 
Use black olives for some of the face decorations.

Cupcakes can be
decorated like pumpkin heads with raisin smiles. To make orange colored
frosting add a small amount of turmeric and beet powder to your white frosting.
Simple!

You
can buy black linguine (a type of pasta colored with calamari ink,
www.freshpasta.com) and use this to make a dish with sautéed (or marinated raw)
red peppers. Make a pumpkin cornbread then melt some chocolate to form a spider
web design and add a plastic spider.

Consider making
pumpkin soup, pumpkin pie, pumpkin pudding, pumpkin bread, cookies, pumpkin
seeds. Pop corn!

Make cookies in
moon shapes. Make ice cubes with orange juice.

Try a punch of
orange juice, cinnamon tea, sparkling water, Honey Gardens with orange slices.

Many communities sponsor bonfires, costume parades, dances, skits,
and other forms
of entertainment to celebrate this eve. Have
your own party! Consider having apples on a string, rather than dunking, much
less likely to spread germs. Each person has their own apple. Or hanging ripe
persimmon slices, granola bars and seeing who can eat the most of theirs with
their hands held behind their backs.

Pin
the Horn on the Unicorn might be a fun twist on a game we all played as
kids.  Pass out paper plates,
crayons, fabric, sequins, wool and markers to make masks. Dim the lights, start
a story, with everyone going around the room to complete the tale.

If
you have trick or treaters, consider giving non-food gifts such as pencils, coloring books,
stickers, barrettes, nickels, bouncy balls, small figurines, balloons or rubber
creepy crawlies. Healthy homemade treats are likely to be discarded by wise and
careful parents, but health food stores have well wrapped rice syrup sweetened
lollipops, organic chocolate, Clif bars for kids or packaged fruit leathers. Remember to
make a donation to UNICEF . Support
school carnivals and community events, which can be, safe and fun.

            Though
kids may collect sugar treats, consider letting them select a set number of
their favorites and donating the rest to a food bank. Or a parent can give the
child a money reward and buy some of the candy from the kids. Store candy out,
of sight out of mind.

What are some of
your Hallloween holiday traditions?

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Brigitte
Mars, a professional member of the American Herbalist Guild, is a nutritional
consultant who has been working with Natural Medicine for over forty years. She
teaches Herbal Medicine at Naropa University, Omega, Boulder College of
Massage, and Bauman Holistic College of Nutrition. She has a weekly local radio
show called "Naturally" on KGNU and a private practice. Brigitte is
the author of twelve books, including The Desktop Guide to Herbal Medicine,
Beauty by Nature, Addiction Free Naturally, Healing Herbal Teas, and Rawsome!
Click here for more healthy living articles, raw food recipes, videos,
workshops, books, and more at brigittemars.com.