I’ve said before I could never be a mama that regularly Bentos (see how I made it a verb?). I lack the time and, more to the point, the creativity. But that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the appeal.
Not surprisingly, this glimpse into how guest contributor Wendy works her lunch-time magic has gotten my wheels turning on creative ways I can incorporate healthy new options into my kids’ decidedly pedestrian lunches. Additionally, I love the idea of pulling out all the stops like this for special occasions.
Check out the in-depth details for this lunch below and don’t miss 24 more great Halloween lunch ideas at the end of the post.
I like to celebrate most holidays by making festive lunches for my kids but Halloween is my favorite season by far to celebrate with cute food. As soon as the month of October begins, I start whipping out spooky lunches.
I’ve collected a large stash of Halloween supplies — cookie cutters, sprinkles, and cute cupcake picks — but you certainly don’t need all those tools to make fun bento box meals for your kids. For this lunch I pulled out just a couple cookie cutters to make jack-o-lantern tortilla chips then added an inexpensive cupcake pick from the party supply store to bring extra interest to some turkey spirals.
The rest of the box was filled with foods whose colors naturally bring Halloween to mind. Carrots and bean dip are the classic orange and black, while a trio of white, yellow and orange fruits bring candy corn to mind.
To begin this bento lunch, we’re going to make some jack-o-lantern tortilla chips. Though they sound complicated, they’re actually very simple to create and if you make a big batch, you can use them for lunches or snacks throughout the week.
To make them, cut pumpkin shapes from tortillas with a cookie cutter. I used white flour tortillas for this lunch, but you can also make these with whole wheat or corn tortillas depending on your family’s preference.
Next cut faces into the tortillas. Jack-o-lantern cookie cutters make this step easy but you can use any other small cutter or a knife.
Spray a baking sheet with canola oil and place your cut-outs on it in a single layer. Toss any scraps that were leftover from cutting the tortillas on there while you’re at it. They’re not pretty, but they’ll taste just as good.
Lightly spray the tops of the chips with more canola oil, sprinkle with salt and put them in an oven that’s been preheated to 350 degrees. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the chips are golden brown. Allow the chips to cool completely before adding them to the lunch box.
If you are making them ahead, store in an air-tight container for up to 4 days.
Next make a “candy corn” fruit salad with mandarin orange or clementine wedges, canned pineapple chunks and diced apple. This combination doesn’t taste like candy corn, of course, but it has the same colors and looks festive.
Stack the orange wedges in the bottom of one section of a divided lunch box. (I am using an EasyLunchBoxes container for this lunch.) Drain the pineapple well and add it in a layer above the oranges.
Pour a little of the juice from the can of pineapple into a bowl and add peeled, diced apple chunks. (The acid in the juice will keep the apple from browning.) Drain the apple and add it to the remaining empty space above the pineapple.
Cut two slices of natural deli turkey into strips about an inch wide.
Starting from the bottom, roll each strip of turkey into a tight spiral. Spear one or two of the spirals with a jack-o-lantern pick, then add them all to the second small section of the lunch box.
Fill the large section of the lunch box with the jack-o-lantern tortilla chips, carrot sticks and a small container of black bean dip. To prevent the chips from absorbing moisture from the carrots, slip a piece of reusable, silicone sushi grass between them.
Here are a few more ideas to help you make special Halloween lunches for your kids:
- 10 ideas for Halloween lunches ranging from super simple to a bit more complex
- Skeletons can be fun for older kids (or braver little ones). Cut sandwiches into skull shapes and add bone sprinkles to yogurt.
- Frankenstein is a classic monster kids love. Make a not-too-scary version using fruit leather or spinach tortillas to decorate a sandwich.
- A vampire apple — made by cutting an apple chunk in half and inserting toy fangs between the pieces — is fun and creepy.
- Turn a cheese stick into a ghost with just a few quick cuts of a knife.
- Use cutters to make classic or bats.
- Give your child the creepy-crawlies by adding a few plastic spiders to his lunch.
- Nothing says “Halloween” more than pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns. Make them from carrots, oranges, or peppers.
- And why not try our Harmless Halloween Breakfast for lunch? Kids love the ghost eggs, mummy toast, sausage spiders, and layered “candy corn” smoothies.
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