5 Dinner Options for a Stress-free Halloween Night

Chow on 10.28.11
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Photo: Kelly Rossiter

Now that my kids are grown, Halloween happens a little differently in our house than it used to. Now my daughter makes her own costumes and we are off to our son's house for a party on Saturday. I miss the happy anticipation leading up to the big night, and the last minute costume and make-up application. What I don't miss is the sugar rush, the candy-trading and the inevitable squabbling over the spoils.

Photo: Kelly Rossiter

I know that the evening of Halloween itself can be a bit of a panic, but there was one rule I always had before I let my kids out to trick or treat - they had to eat dinner. Feeling full when they head out will keep them from stuffing candy into their mouths out on the road, will keep them alert, and will keep them calmer on this most exciting of evenings. I've avoided heavy meat dishes here, you want them sated, not stuffed.

Photo: Kelly Rossiter  My son Hugh as Queen Elizabeth 1

Luckily, Halloween falls on a Monday, so in addition to whipping up that costume, you can make something ahead of time on Sunday that can be reheated on Monday night. I've included some make-ahead recipes, as well as some quick last-minute things to do on the fly, between carving the pumpkin and putting the make-up on the kids.

Photo: Kelly Rossiter  A Borg

Make Ahead Dishes

1. Maple Baked Beans

Maple baked beans is such an easy dish to make, with almost no labour involved. Soak the beans on Friday or Saturday night, then assemble the dish and stick it in the oven either Saturday or Sunday and let it bake away while you do other things. Monday evening, reheat and serve.

2. Soy Glazed Chicken

This recipe for soy glazed chicken is made in a crock pot, but you can do it in the oven as well. Get your crock pot going in the morning and by the time you are getting costumes together, the dinner will be done. This is a big kid favourite recipe.

3. Onion and White Bean Bake

This onion and white bean bake can be made ahead the day before, or you can just caramelize the onions and refrigerate them overnight and then do the beans in the evening.

Quick Last Minute Dishes

4. Fried Rice

This fried rice dish could be a bit of a make ahead and last minute thing, if you like. All the time is in the prepping of the vegetables, which you could do the night before and then just do the cooking before the kids get into their costumes.

5. Scrambled Eggs

Oh, where would we be without the wonderful egg. You could serve scrambled eggs rolled in a tortilla, or with some melted cheese on an English muffin, or just straight up with some toast.

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