OSSINING, N.Y. Maggie da Silva's trick for getting kids to stay healthy on Halloween is to feed them lots of fun "real food" before they go out, and to secretly throw away candy after kids bring it home.
"It's more about getting the candy," said Silva, the author of "Real Family Halloween," an electronic book. "I give them one or two pieces per day and a week later they've kind of forgotten about it."
Other tips that Silva offers in her e-book include how to make Halloween-themed "real food," such as pumpkin-shaped pizzas and mummy meatloaf, and how to spice up a Halloween party with battery-operated candles and spider ice cubes.
"Whatever you do, make it in a fun shape and they will eat it," said da Silva, who grew up in Ossining. "Spider ice cubes look like they took so much trouble to make, but you just take these plastic spiders and freeze them in ice cubes."
Other foods included in the recipe section of da Silva's book include "soul cakes," "witches brew" punch and "ghost fingers" string cheese decorated with almond nails.
Da Silva describes her Halloween book as a "lifestyle" book that talks about everything from the history of trick-or-treating to how to throw a Halloween party.
"In Medieval times, poor people would get food in return for praying for rich people's dead ancestors," Da Silva explained. "A soul cake is a traditional little cake with a cross on top of it."
"Real Family Halloween" is Da Silva's second e-book that was written with the encouragement of her friend in the e-publishing business. Da Silva's first e-book was about camping, and the author has also written several non-fiction children's books about animals, including pigs, working elephants and guinea pigs.
Da Silva currently lives in Brooklyn with her husband and three children, ages four, four and seven. In addition to planning a Halloween dance party, Da Silva is already getting excited about Christmas.
"When you have kids, it's like the best excuse in the world to get really excited," she said. "I'm already thinking about buying stockings for Christmas and stuffing them with soap, which is the perfect stocking stuffer because they add bulk."
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