I’ll admit, when my kids were all really young, I just pretended Halloween didn’t exist. We didn’t do the trick or treating thing or the costume thing. In fact, we usually just turned out the lights and went to bed early on trick-or-treating night.
I just didn’t like the idea of letting already-grumpy toddlers stay up late to go to strangers houses and ask for candy packed with food dyes.
As my kids get older and want to dress up, the idea of trick-or-treating is more of a struggle. On the one hand, I completely understand them wanting to have the fun of wearing a costume and spending time with friends. On the other, I don’t love the idea of them getting bags upon bags of candy (that will make them crazy and rot their teeth out).
Reasons to Choose Non-Candy Halloween Treats
In the past, handing out a treat besides name brand candy was a sure way to get your house rolled. In recent years, the trend is shifting and there are several big reasons to considering non-candy options:
- Food Allergies– Food allergies are on the rise and many popular types of candy contain peanuts and other allergens. I know quite a few moms who can’t let their kids trick or treat because of potential peanut exposure.
- Too Much Sugar– With the rising rates of obesity and other health problems, especially among youth, I can’t in good conscience hand out sugar. The 80/20 rule is great and there is a time and a place for treats. The problem is that time seems to be all the time. And the place seems to be everywhere. Kids get candy at the bank, the doctor, school, and almost everywhere they go. Do they really need a bags of it?
- Dye Sensitivities– Many kids are sensitive to food dyes and it is tough to avoid them in most types of candy.
- Orthodontics– Candy and sugary snacks aren’t good for teeth and can stick to braces and other mouth pieces.
- Easier on Parents– When you give out non-candy halloween treats, you save parents the trouble of checking for anything harmful in the candy.
This year, I’m opting to hand out some healthier alternatives to sugary treats. (I’m also crossing my fingers that our house won’t get rolled if we don’t give out candy!)
Candy-Free Alternatives to Halloween Treats
Sure, handing out something besides candy may not make you the most popular house in the neighborhood. At the same time, there are some really fun alternatives to candy that are definitely kid-approved. All the other families who are tying to limit sugar or who are sensitive to food dyes will thank you!
These are the top alternative halloween treats I’ve thought of and will be stocking up on:
1. Glider Airplanes
Mini airplanes are inexpensive and a great alternative to candy. My brother loved these when we were little and would have taken one of these over candy any day!
2. Organic Juice Boxes
A consumable halloween treat that is practical. After walking around the neighborhood, kids may be thirsty. It still has sugar and isn’t an everyday thing for us, but it makes a great treat.
3. Nutiva Snacks
Another consumable treat. Nutiva snacks are about the same size as a piece of candy, slightly sweet and much healthier. They are more pricey though, so not a great option if you need a lot of treats to hand out.
4. Bouncy Balls
My kids love bouncy balls and we don’t usually have them around the house because of all. the. bouncing. Grab a pack of 100 for cheaper than a big bag of candy and call it a day!
5. Local Honey Sticks
My oldest son brought home a bunch of these from a bee keepers meeting one time and they were an instant hit with his siblings. Ideally find some from a local beekeeper, or order online. These are still a sweet treat, but the beneficial properties in honey make it a healthier alternative to candy.
My littles spend hours stamping pictures on paper and they gave me the idea for this candy alternative. Stamps are also cheaper than candy when you get them in bulk.
7. Apple Cider Packets
I’m hoping it will cool down by Halloween, and if it does, kids will love something to warm them up after walking around. Apple cider packets are a great consumable alternative to candy.
A novel and practical kid favorite! Carabiners top the list of practical gifts that can be reused, and as a bonus… they are plastic free!
A practical idea for kids walking around after dark! Keychain flashlights are fun for kids and a good candy alternative if you don’t live in a busy neighborhood and order a few dozen in bulk.
10. Water Bottles
I’m not a fan of plastic by any means, but if I had to choose between water in recyclable plastic bottles and candy in plastic wrappers, the water wins. Kids get thirsty after trick or treating (and consuming sugar!) and water is a practical option.
Perhaps the most practical idea to give out, though certainly not the most popular. Talk to local dentists, as some may be willing to donate some free toothbrushes to kids with candy teeth. (Though fair warning, kids don’t love getting toothbrushes!)
12. Pumpkin Oranges
Feeling crafty? Get some organic oranges and use a natural marker to draw some pumpkin faces on them.
13. Organic Candy
If you just can’t fathom the idea of giving out something besides candy, opt for a better kind of candy. This brand of organic lollipops is dye-free and contains Vitamin C.
14. Fake Mustaches
Kids love these hilarious fake mustaches. At a recent family event, I brought a few packs of fake mustaches for the adults who were having a costume party. The next morning, we woke up and found all of the kids in mustaches too! For a holiday that requires costume, these are fun to give out!
15. Natural Fruit Leather
An edible candy alternative. Buy a big box of organic fruit leather in bulk for the most inexpensive option.
I really don’t like stickers. At least not since my two year old created the great sticker vs. bunk bed face off last year. There is still sticker residue on their bed! My kids, on the other hand, love stickers. And you can order 1000 of them really inexpensively for treats to give out.
Bubbles are a fun activity that every kid loves. My children will play with these for hours a time!
18. Mini Notebooks
My daughters keep these mini notebooks in their mini purses so they can draw and take notes.
19. Slingshot Bats
A great alternative to candy, especially if you like getting shot in the eye with small rubber slingshot bats!
20. Skeleton Bone Pens
Possibly the coolest item on this list! These bone-shaped pens are really cool and practical too!
A great inexpensive halloween treat to give out that stimulates creativity. Wikisticks are made from yarn and natural wax and are a mess-free creative way for kids to draw and build pictures.
22. Lego People
Want to be the coolest house on the block? Give out little Lego compatible figures!
23. Glow Bracelets
I don’t usually get glow sticks because of the plastic, but I’ll pull them out as a special treat or candy alternative. Glow bracelets are a kid favorite! The most practical option because they also make kids easier to see in the dark while out trick or treating!
24. Puzzle Balls
The downside? They are plastic. The upside? Puzzle balls are a reusable treat that encourages critical thinking.
25. Fancy Crayon Pens
Practical but still cool. These crayon pens have multiple tips and encourage creativity.
26. Slap Bracelets
Slap bracelets were all the rage when I was a kid. Maybe they are outdated, or maybe, like many poor fashion trends of decades past, they are coming back!
27. Mini Play Dough
We prefer to make our own play dough, but even pre-made mini play dough containers are a good alternative to candy!
Your turn- What would you give out besides candy? Share with a friend to encourage less candy consumption this year!