Trick-or-treating is a much-loved tradition and one of the only “holidays” that registers on a child’s radar. Being out at night, dressing up, and the thought of pillowcases full of candy are all part of the allure of the spookiest night of the year. However, the awareness surrounding allergies and the shift toward healthier eating shows more households are choosing to offer non-candy treats.
Balancing a child’s diet is tricky enough without the added sugar from Halloween candy. Proper brushing and flossing even without the plastic pumpkin full of candy is difficult, and some families may choose to do away with all the sweets rather than raise their child’s risk of tooth decay. Candy treats may not only encourage cavities but can also exclude children with allergies. If you’re considering switching to non-candy treats or want to offer them in addition to candy, here are some ideas.
- Temporary Tattoos – Who doesn’t love a good temporary “I Heart Mom” tattoo? If that’s not your style, there are many choices available including favorite cartoon characters and animals. Bonus: They last several days, so your kids can enjoy them longer than that pack of Skittles!
- Glow Sticks – Not only are they fun, but they’re also a great way to help your child stay visible while trick-or-treating. Nowadays there are also glow-in-the-dark necklaces, bracelets, fake eyeglasses and a bunch of other fun options.
- Bubbles – Halloween themed mini packs of bubbles come in fun character shaped bottles like vampires and witches.
- Cartoon-themed Band-Aids – It might sound strange to give out adhesive strips for Halloween, but anyone with a toddler can tell you stories about pretend boo-boos just so they can wear one!
- Small Bottles of Water – Some companies even put out Halloween themed bottles! A healthy choice and they help keep kids hydrated while they’re out trick-or-treating.
- Halloween Themed School Supplies – Pencils, pens, and erasers. Even adults love these!
- Crayons and Coloring Books – Many stores sell shrink-packs of crayons and mini coloring or activity books in the candy aisle and near the birthday party favors.
- Vampire Teeth and Spooky Jewelry – Spider rings, bat necklaces, and vampire teeth are fun for kids of all ages.
- Stickers - Choosing a variety of different stickers can accommodate a wide range of ages and interests.
- Cold, Hard Cash – If you live in an area where you don’t get many children, consider padding a child’s piggy bank and offer some change instead of a piece of candy.
If you opt to give out toys instead of candy this Halloween, consider placing a teal pumpkin on your doorstep to show you have non-candy treats available. The Teal Pumpkin Project raises awareness for children with allergies and has some excellent resources on going non-candy ideas for Halloween. If your decision to not offer candy is only based on health, a teal pumpkin will also show other like-minded families that you provide non-candy goodies, and that’s a treat in itself.