Which isn't to say the goodies we've gathered here — a muddy punch and a granola-like snack — don't have a sweet side. Rather, we decided to take a more balanced approach to our sugar rush. You know, just in case somebody over the age of 12 wanted some.
Start with the spicy-sweet mole pumpkin seed clusters. Think of it as a savory-sweet granola that packs tons of addictive crunch and just a bit of heat (easily adjusted to your taste). It definitely has that potato chip-like can't-stop-shoving-it-in-your-face quality. Embrace it.
To wash it down, we created a spooky, muddy punch. Sure, it's jammed with chocolate, but it tastes more fruity than sugary. We kept it simple — and nonalcoholic — in case you're willing to share it with the kids. But after they go to bed, we suggest adding a healthy splash of light rum.
SPICY-SWEET MOLE PUMPKIN SEED CLUSTERS
Start to finish: 20 minutes, plus cooling
1/2 cup almond butter
1/2 cup honey
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less, to taste)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
2 cups flaked corn cereal, lightly crushed
Line a rimmed baking sheet with waxed paper.
In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the almond butter, honey, cayenne, salt and cocoa powder. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and add the pumpkin seeds and cereal. Stir to combine, then transfer to the prepared pan. Using 2 spoons, separate the mixture into small clusters. Set aside to cool.
Nutrition information per serving: 230 calories; 130 calories from fat (57 per cent of total calories); 14 g fat (2 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 21 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 13 g sugar; 8 g protein; 160 mg sodium.
LIQUID MUD PUNCH
Start to finish: 10 minutes, plus cooling
4 cups grape juice
Two 20-ounce bags bittersweet chocolate bits
4 cups blueberry juice, chilled
2-litre bottle lemon-lime soda, chilled
Shaved chocolate, to serve
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the grape juice to a simmer. Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate bits. Continue stirring until completely melted and smooth. Whisk in the blueberry juice, then refrigerate until completely chilled.
In a large punch bowl, gently stir the chocolate juice mixture with the lemon-lime soda. Sprinkle with shaved chocolate just before serving.
Nutrition information per serving: 320 calories; 180 calories from fat (56 per cent of total calories); 20 g fat (10 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 45 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber; 36 g sugar; 4 g protein; 20 mg sodium.