26 Non-Candy Halloween Treats Kids Will Love

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Halloween and I have a complicated relationship, at least since I became a mom. Take trick-or-treating, for instance. It’s a fun tradition, but there certainly aren’t too many healthy Halloween treats (or even close to it). Easter and a few other holidays require some similar soul-searching.

So what’s a health-conscious mom to do? As I see it, I have a couple of options:

Option #1: Ignore Halloween Completely

Yep … I did this!

I’ll admit it: 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 already grumpy toddlers staying up late to go to strangers’ houses and ask for candy packed with food dyes.

As my kids got older and wanted to dress up, trick-or-treating was harder to avoid. On the one hand, I completely understand the fun tradition 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).

Since I’ve learned a thing or two about balance and moderation over the years, we’ve moved on (a little reluctantly) from this option.

Option #2: The Candy Fairy

Opinions differ on whether or not receiving a mountain of candy in one night provides a natural opportunity to learn self-control. I’m all for kids having these life lessons, but I’m a big believer in giving kids choices within certain boundaries set by the parent. (Hence my love for Montessori.)

The Candy Fairy (or Switch Witch, take your choice) visits our house after trick-or-treating and the kids don’t seem to mind a bit. We switch out the majority of the candy for a fun grab bag of treats. Since they come from our home, this also gives me the chance to throw some tasty edibles from better sources.

Option #3: Offer Healthy Halloween Treats

I know, I know … handing out a treat other than name-brand candy is a surefire way to get your house rolled. I promise I’m not suggesting handing the kids an apple or a carton of bone broth.

Still, since childhood obesity rates are around 17% in the U.S. (and thankfully holding steady for the last few years), wouldn’t less candy given to kids be a positive change?

In fact, there are plenty of reasons to consider giving out non-candy treats:

  1. 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. (Proof this is a real trend: The Teal Pumpkin Project.)
  2. Too Much Sugar – With high rates of obesity and other health problems, especially among youth, I can’t in good conscience hand out tons of sugary candy. The 80/20 rule is great and there may be 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, their school, and almost everywhere they go. Do they really need bags of it?!
  3. Dye Sensitivities – Many kids are sensitive to food dyes and it’s tough to avoid them in most types of candy.
  4. Orthodontics – Candy and sugary snacks aren’t good for teeth and can stick to braces and other mouthpieces.
  5. Easier on Parents – When you give out non-candy Halloween treats, you save parents the trouble of checking for anything harmful in the candy.

True, non-candy treats may not make your house the most popular stop in the neighborhood, but there are some really fun alternatives to candy that are definitely kid-approved. And all the other families who are trying to limit sugar or who are sensitive to food dyes will thank you!

Ideas for Non-Candy Halloween Treats (Kids Actually Like)

These are the top healthy Halloween treats I keep in my stash. Bonus: If you have some leftover, most of these will keep until next year!

1. Glider Airplanes

Surprisingly, 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’s 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. Natural Fruit Leather

In my opinion these taste way better than artificially flavored fruit candies! Buy them in bulk for the best price. I’ve seen them at Costco for a good price, or they’re available from Amazon for a good price.

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! They even make creepy eyeball bouncy balls!

5. Local Honey Sticks

My oldest son brought home a bunch of these from a beekeepers’ 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.

6. Stamps

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. Crisp Apple 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. Even better, this brand uses pretty decent ingredients!

8. Carabiners

A novel and practical kid favorite! Carabiners top the list of practical gifts that can be reused, and as a bonus… they’re plastic free!

9. Mini-Flashlights

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. Order them in bulk for a good price.

10. Pumpkin Oranges

Feeling crafty? Get some organic oranges and use a natural marker to draw some pumpkin faces on the peel. This is probably best for a group of friends or a close-knit neighborhood where people trust an unwrapped offering.

11. 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.

12. Fake Mustaches

Kids love these hilarious fake mustaches. I brought a few packs of fake mustaches to a costume party for adults once and the next morning we woke up and found all of the kids in mustaches too! For a holiday that requires a costume, these are fun to give out!

13. Stickers

I have to say, kids have ruined stickers for me. They seem to think it’s a great idea to plaster stickers on any surface to make it more festive. (There is still sticker residue on their bunk beds to prove it.) Since Halloween is about fun for the kids though, I’ll be a sucker and order 1000 of them really inexpensively for treats to give out.

14. Bubbles

Bubbles are a fun activity that every kid loves. My children will play with these for hours at a time!

15. Mini Notebooks

My daughters keep these mini notebooks in their mini purses so they can draw and take notes.

16. LED Light Up Rings

Forget Ring Pops! These rings light up in crazy colors and are a fun way to keep kids safe in the dark.

17. Skeleton Bone Pens

Possibly the coolest item on this list! These bone-shaped pens are really cool and practical too!

18. Wikki Sticks

A great inexpensive Halloween treat to give out that stimulates creativity. Wikki Sticks are made from yarn and natural wax and are a mess-free creative way for kids to draw and build pictures.

19. Lego People

Want to be the coolest house on the block? Give out little Lego compatible figures!

20. 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 the most practical option because they also make kids easier to see in the dark while out trick or treating! I’ve never seen a kid leave disappointed when receiving a glow bracelet instead of candy.

21. Puzzle Balls

The downside? They are plastic. The upside? Puzzle balls are a reusable treat that encourages critical thinking.

22. Fancy Crayon Pens

Practical but still cool. These crayon pens have multiple tips and encourage creativity.

23. 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, it’s time for them to come back!

24. Mini Play Dough

We usually make our own play dough, but pre-made mini play dough containers are a good alternative to candy!

25. Spooky Spider Rings

Another plastic toy, but when store-bought candy is at stake I’ll compromise. This kid pleaser adds to the spooky fun. Warning: they’re as bad as Legos … inevitably I end up stepping on them in bare feet around the house for months after.

26. Punch Balloons

I remember punching these with great glee as a kid (probably in the direction of my brother’s face). This perennial party favor comes in Halloween-themed colors and encourages kids to be active and have fun!

If You’re Going to Hand Out Candy…

Opt for pre-packaged treats from reputable companies that use organic or natural ingredients with few to no additives. These are my favorite healthier candy “compromises” since their ingredient lists are a lot less… scary!

What’s your policy on candy on Halloween? Which healthy Halloween treats would you like to see your kids bring home?

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Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.

Comments

84 responses to “26 Non-Candy Halloween Treats Kids Will Love”

  1. Emily Avatar

    Thanks for these suggestions, Katie! I think I may use these as rewards for my youth group kids as well! I always feel bad sending them home with candy that I don’t even give my own kids. I think a lot of these ideas would go over well with them!

  2. Clara Avatar

    Hmm, you mamans are thinking about your children’s health but not to the environment and the consumerism that is being taught. It’s “one day”, sure, but it’s one day during which USA spends $9 billions each year, $2.6 billions of which on candies. To give you an idea, that’s 6 Titanic ships of candies. Ingredients include petroleum and GMO corn syrup (cheaper than the sugar used in candies we ate as kids; toxic & a major surge of water pollution), plastic wrappers are non-recyclable, etc. And most of it ends up in the trash bin!

    Lets turn Halloween from environmental damaging consumerism & health hazard to a green & kind holiday: From getting to giving; from shopping to creating; from toxic to healthy for the child and the planet.

  3. Melanie Avatar

    Usually we give out mini boxes of raisins. But this year we are trying glow bracelets because they were less expensive.

  4. Naomi Aldort Avatar
    Naomi Aldort

    These are all wonderful ideas for making Halloween healthier. But what about doing away with consumerism altogether, the “go get” entitlement of the children?

    We should try and make Halloween Green, or “HalloGreen”. It should be about giving rather than getting, healthy rather than toxic, and healthy for the planet too.

    If we want our children to have a livable planet, we must stop the consumption, the toxins, and the focus on getting, and, replace it with a focus on giving, connecting, and nurturing our bodies and our planet. We can start right here on Orcas, by transforming Halloween from a “go get” to a “go give” and from consumerism based to creative and sustainable celebration.

  5. Dani Avatar

    All Hallow’s Eve. Samhain. Harvest. It’s just the passing of the season, you guys, regardless of the name. Let your kids have fun. As someone who has spent almost 30 years battling an eating disorder that began in my teens, don’t restrict. Don’t food shame.
    Also, slap bracelets? Those things were practically deadly weapons. I don’t even have kids & I know better than to give them out.

  6. Brittany Avatar

    Love these ideas! We get over 100 kids knocking on our door each Halloween so some of these are too expensive, but there are some great, affordable ideas on here.

    My son’s birthday is the beginning of November so we always do a pinata at his birthday party and put in all their extra Halloween candy.

  7. Katie Campbell Avatar
    Katie Campbell

    Awesome! Thanks so much for making this post. I love holidays and Halloween was hard this year as I gave out stuff that I knew kids wanted, yet they completely violated all the stuff I claim to believe in. Love this!!!!!

  8. Katherine Avatar
    Katherine

    Brilliant……. thank you, thank you. I love the idea of glow in the dark Items;

    We trick or treat and my kids love it, it is the only time candy enters the home (nearly). My son has some allergies so he has to switch out a bunch of his candy; then with some monitoring (candy after food only) I let them go a bit nuts…. they burn through it in a day or so and we’re done.

    I am always looking for alternatives… party favours are pricey and hard to find where we live:.. so I did buy candy…. with natural colours…. best I could do this year. Think I’m gonna use some of these tips for next time though. Thanks

  9. Hazel Avatar

    Today I decided not to take my kids out trick-or-treating I decided to do crafts with them we made homemade pumpkin, candy corn, witches and pumpkin decorations and they loved it. Later on today we are going to make cookies together and have candy after supper. Either way we are having fun and loving it without battling 40 degree weather, and unwanted treasures bad people put in our kids candies.

  10. Kate Avatar

    A new option that we discovered through our daughter’s school this year is to donate the Halloween candy to soldiers. When I asked my daughter (7) if she wanted to do this, she said “Yes!” wholeheartedly.

  11. Melanie Avatar

    You can’t protect your child from everything and not letting them enjoy some candy every once in a while is a bit insane.

    1. Katie - Wellness Mama Avatar

      I agree Melanie- and in fact, I think that in most cases in our modern world, we protect our kids from too much and don’t give them enough independence or room to make mistakes. And my kids absolutely do enjoy treats every once in a while and have enjoyed much more than I would have chosen for them on several occasions. To be clear- this year, we live in a neighborhood and near other kids and they are dressing up and joining all the fun, but they’ve decided (on their own) to help hand out glow sticks and play with their friends rather than go door to door for candy. My goal is not to “protect” them from everything but rather to educate them and hope, as they get older, that they make wise choices but realizing I can’t and shouldn’t control these choices. That said, this doesn’t mean I should serve junk food at our house or keep candy around just so they can eat it once in a while in the name of “balance.”

      1. Jeff Avatar

        Peer pressure will lead them to do things they shouldn’t and you’ll not be there. Educating them about choices is good. But you have to let them live a little also or they will totally go the other way from you teachings. I am a father of three, grandfather of fourteen, great grandfather of three. So I know a little about kids.

  12. Mollie Avatar

    Thank you for the great ideas!
    The honey sticks have artificial coloring 🙁

  13. Dave Avatar

    Great ideas. I wish I could not give out candy, but I remember getting annoyed with houses that did that when I was a kid. We usually do a “trick or treat trade in” for our kids. They get to trade their candy in for different toys and healthy treats like Hail Merry Tarts or Legos. The more candy they trade in the bigger the prize. That way they still get the excitement over dumping out their pumpkins and counting how much candy they got. After they count it, we use that same candy to hand out to the neighbors 🙂

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