First Halloween in Switzerland

Yesterday, we experienced our first Halloween in Switzerland. In the United States, my sons would have gone to daycare in costumes and trick-or-treated in our neighborhood at dusk. Dozens of little superheroes and princesses would have rung our doorbell in search of candy. Here in our little corner of Switzerland, Halloween seems a much more subdued affair.

I actually felt a little relieved about avoiding some of the festivities this year, given all the guidance out there about managing Halloween with food allergies (see FAAN and Kids with Food Allergies Foundation, among many others). At 16 months, our food-allergic son doesn’t have any expectations for Halloween yet, but his 5-year old brother does. So, we created our own little Halloween celebration complete with a few allergy-friendly foods throughout the day. And, my oldest was still able to enjoy some chocolate bars—just after his brother was safely asleep.

Our Halloween activities this year included: (1) pumpkin carving, (2) making and eating Crazy Cake, decorated with white-frosting spider webs, (3) baking a stuffed pumpkin for dinner (see recipe below), and (4) “trick-or-treating” with Dad outside at night.

I recently rediscovered a stuffed pumpkin recipe that’s based on one from the Hidatsa Tribe. It calls for eggs, but I used flax meal instead. Also, while easy to prepare, you’ll have to invest some time cooking the wild rice in advance (the instructions said simmer for 55 minutes), and baking the pumpkin (about 1.5 hours).


Hidatsa Stuffed Pumpkin

Adapted from “Eating Hidatsa Style,” Kids Discover, September 2004.


  • 1 pumpkin, weighing 4-5 pounds
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried mustard
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 pound ground buffalo, venison or beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup cooked wild or other rice
  • 1/2 cup allergy-friendly vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon flax meal mixed with 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon crushed dried sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Cut the top off the pumpkin. Remove seeds and stringy material. Rub the inside of the pumpkin with 1 teaspoon of the salt and the dried mustard

3. Heat oil in pan and cook the ground meat and onion until the meat is browned. Remove from heat, stir in the remaining ingredients and spoon into the pumpkin shell.

4. Fill a baking pan with about 1/2 inch of water. Place the filled pumpkin in the pan and bake for about 1 1/2 hours or until the pumpkin is tender.

Hope you had a happy and safe Halloween 2012!

Updated: Reduced the amount of flax meal and water. Added veggie broth to the recipe. October 29, 2014.


6 thoughts on “First Halloween in Switzerland

  1. Jeana says:

    Canned pre-cooked wild rice, one of the best canned items. I really don’t like the smell of cooking wild rice, so when I make soup, I used the canned stuff. Maybe not a grocery staple in Switzerland though…

  2. Laura Opsahl says:

    Wild rice freezes wonderfully! Make a bunch and then store it in ziploc freezer bags. I like to heat it up in a pan with some chicken stock to keep it moist. Then sauté some mushrooms and onion and serve add it to the rice and yum!

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