That spooky season is fast approaching (and NO I am not referring to the cold winter months in which I do not shave my legs regularly…. It’s even scarier!)
Halloween! The holiday of witches, goblins and ghouls… or if you live on my street it looks more like the season of cute wee ones all dressed up and tripping on their costume and older kids that have lame costumes or lack a costume all together but insist on collecting candy.
Six reasons I do not give out candy on Halloween:
- As someone that works with children I see the effects that the Halloween creates. The kid that ate candy for breakfast, the kid on a sugar rush followed by a crash, the kid that has a stomach ache the next day from too many sweets, the child that mid-November has tooth aches, the child who brings candy for school snacks and lunch, or the kid with candy wrappers pouring out his coat pockets for weeks. I’ve seen it all and have decided I do not want to contribute to obesity, diabetics and unhealthy habits in children. I just want to bring back the fun in Halloween!
- I like to be able to accommodate all children especially those with allergies, dietary requirements, and special needs. And the wee ones that lack teeth and candy can be a big choking hazard for!
- The rising cost. Fun size chocolate bars can be found for 15-75 cents each (do the math when you go to buy them!). I generally would be handing out 3 candy items per child costing me 45 cents to 2.25 dollars. The rising costs of candy alone have made me think twice and opt for some cheaper fun alternatives! (I am a master shopper and avid couponer so finding deals and saving money gives me thrills!)
- Because I am different and like to be different.
- I get hear the kids excited about their cool glow stick or their new toy or awesome pencil they get to use. (And as someone that works with kids I also get to see them use these fun items.)
- I draw the line at turning off my lights and closing the door. I enjoy Halloween too much!Side note: yes my tummy and rear clearly can tell you that I too enjoy candy and chocolate bars, and yes my child will likely go trick or treating and have some treats- I’m not saying that they should not! I just believe in moderation and healthy fun alternatives as well as parental supervision.
Some Halloween Treat Tips!:
- Do not hand out treats that are not in their package. They will most likely be thrown out!
- Know your neighbourhood kids- age range, gender, and amount of kids expected and use that to decide what to get
- Make a budget and stick to it! If you only expect 15 kids you can obviously afford to spend more money than if you expect 300 hundred kids. Base it on the previous years or ask a neighbor! Set a per child budget and collect your items!
So here goes an awesome list of Halloween Treat Alternatives! That being said they are also great for all holidays: Halloween, stocking stuffers, birthday gifts, valentine’s gifts, loot bags, Easter gifts, special treats, treasure chest …
FOOD Alternatives to candy and chocolate!
(Not all allergy friendly and not always the healthiest but great non-candy alternatives!)
-Prepackaged snacks on average these will cost you 10 cents- 75 cents per item depending- save some money and stock up during the months of August and September as back to school sales can make these treats a decent price!
- Nutrigrain bars
- Rice Krispy squares
- Granola bars
- Bear Paws
- Apple sauce
- Single serve popcorn
- Single serve crackers with peanut butter packs
- Mini boxes of raisins
- 100 calorie snack packs
- Fruit 2 Go bars
- Single serve goldfish packs
- Hot chocolate mix
- Mini bottles of water or Juice boxes
- Single serve fruit salad a fun jack-o-lantern face on it with stickers or markers
- Fruit- apples, clementines… you know fruit. Not always the best to give out on Halloween night but awesome to bring in to school
-Once again- preplan. Hit up the back to school sales or the clearance after and snag some cheap fun items for kids to use- they last longer than a fun size chocolate bar too! You can also get crafty with these. Add a fun tag/label or Halloween sticker on them
- Pencils (Packs generally go on for super cheap expect about 1 cent per pencil up to about 20 cents each.
- Crayons (This year 25 piece packs were on for 20 cents. I missed a deal on 10 packs for 10 cents)
- Markers (Crayola markers are generally 8-10 per pack and go on for as little as 1$)
- Mini pads of paper
- Pencil toppers
(Side note: avoid things like scissors-no need to give kids weapons and think of the safety issues! GAH ALSO packs of paper which are generally super cheap- they are also super heavy and can be considered a weapon.. “I’m going to give you a paper cut!” Okay not much of a weapon but they are heavy and not too much fun!
TOYS, NOVELTY ITEMS AND OTHER IDEAS
Hit up dollar stores, party supply stores and even big box party sections and dollar grabs. You can also check out online stores such as Oriental Trading or ebay- but watch for shipping costs and times! Try clearance sections-Target does wicked clearance on their dollar section making things very cheap! Also check out summer toy clearance.
I generally buy things on Holiday clearance for the next year- it’s not like toys go bad! I have a stash of small items that I use for all occasions!
- Stickers (I scored 18 sheets for 1$ at Dollar stores!)
- Playdoh (They sell the small packs for Halloween but I have always found the party section non-Halloween ones to be a bit cheaper!)
- Activity books
- Hair accessories
- Klynex packs- not super fun but decorate them with stickers! They will be useful!
- Temporary tattoos
- Bath toys
- Paddle balls
- Ball in a cup
- Sticker books
- Rings and play jewelry (Halloween themed or not!)
- Funky straws
- Silly putty
- Mini slinky
- Finger puppets
- Bouncy balls
- Toy cars (the hot wheels ones have gone on clearance locally for 95 cents- but the non-name brand ones I have seen for cheaper!)
- Wind-up toys
- Water squirters- I’m not a fan of any type of gun for children.
- Mini card games (go fish, old maid, matching cards, memory)
- Parachute men/women
- Sticky toys- I have no idea what they are called! The slimy hands that stick to walls or people that walk down walls
- Mini Frisbees
- Small Craft kits- DIY paper crafts, DIY foam crafts… etc
- Books- I love giving out board books to the wee little ones!
- Spinning tops
- Socks – I have found some cool funky socks for Halloween for super cheap and they are fun!
- Whoopie cushions (I recently saw a 5 pack at the local dollarstore. Helps to add the TRICK back into Trick-or-treating!)
- Mittens- I have found these on clearance and save them for Halloween.
- Sand toys/ snow toys (I live in Canada. There is always the possibility of the “S” word on Halloween!)
- Glow sticks, finger lights, reflective stickers (One of my favourites. We live on a not so lit street and lights are regularly out. Crack a glow stick and attach it to their arms or bags. Being safe can be cool!)
- Whistles and noise makers(what mom would not love a bag of those! Maybe add some recorders too and only give them to kids who do not live on your street! Or the annoying perky mom a few doors down that is always baking and being the perfect Martha Stewart- minus the jail time and scandal.)
- Money- a strange idea that someone mentioned to me. They give out quarters.
- Tooth brushes- not so fun but super practical after Halloween!