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Halloween WITHOUT Food Dyes

Nothing says Halloween like a party filled with creepy, ghoulish, or downright goofy treats. But putting together all of those gross-out goodies often requires an appalling amount of food coloring. Problem is, artificial food colorings and food dyes aren’t all that great for your kids, and in some cases have even been associated with behavioral problems. Of course you can always stick with comfort food classics (cookies, macaroni and cheese) that come in fall colors already. But when you want to pull out all the stops for your Halloween bash without using food coloring, you may need to get more creative. For example:

Orange: Think carrots, pumpkins, squash, sweet potatoes, cheddar cheese, mangoes, cantaloupe, and of course, oranges. We are in love with these orange Halloween Polenta Bites from Organic Authority (sweet potato or pumpkin makes them orange). For even more fun ideas, see this list of “Eating By Color: Orange” from the Healthy Eats blog at Food Network.

Black: Molasses, raisins, black beans, olives. If you’re willing to go a little high-end, we have this cool list from Mother Nature Network of all-natural Black Food for Halloween (raw black sesame tahini, anyone?).

Green: Use green leafy vegetables for garnish or dips (make a spinach dip in the blender so it comes out a uniformly green color), or use celery sticks for fingers or “boats” for your spooky treats. And don’t be afraid to make your green stuff sweet: The BitterSweet blog has a cool recipe for monstrously good cupcakes that have a green frosting made with avocados.

Purple: Grapes, blueberries, red cabbage, beets. Better Homes and Gardens has a fun recipe for Spooky Blueberry Smoothies that use blueberries and blackberries for some purple goodness.

Red: Apples, strawberries, cranberries, pomegranate juice, tomatoes. We are simultaneously grossed out and charmed by this recipe for Vegan Bloody Popcorn from Ezinearticles. It relies on spices like chili powder and paprika – but they have to be super-fresh for the red color to be intact.

Now go forth and party!

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