Real Food Tips: 20 Ways to do Halloween without candy!

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Whoever said you “had” to hand out candy on Halloween anyway? Trust me kids will be getting PLENTY of candy this month regardless so it wouldn’t hurt, and it actually might help, if you break up the monotony by doing something a little different. I personally kind of like to be different (let’s just call it “unique”) anyway. And let’s face it…bags of candy aren’t exactly cheap either so some of these alternatives might cost the same or even less for your Halloween night handout. Most of them will last a lot longer, too!

Also, a quick thanks to all the wonderful facebook fans who helped me come up with these great ideas!

Creative alternatives for trick-or-treaters…

  1. Packs of mini play dough containers
  2. A mix of inexpensive Halloween-themed toys from a place like Michael’s, Oriental Trading, Target or Wal-Mart (pictured)
  3. Miniature bottles of water or all natural juice boxes (love this idea because we are always thirsty when we’re out and about trick-or-treating)
  4. Spooky collection of Halloween “frights” like plastic eyeballs, rubbery rats, and fake fingers
  5. Light-up glow sticks, which can usually be found in a pack of 15 at Michael’s or Target for only $1 (that’s what we’re going to give out this year!)
  6. Halloween pencils and mini activity books or pads of paper
  7. Toothbrushes (big kids might turn their noses up to this, but my children happen to think new toothbrushes are fun)
  8. Mini Lara Bars and/or packs of raisins
  9. Inexpensive little books from thrift stores, garage sales, or the dollar store
  10. “Birthday landfill” as one facebook fan called it, which is basically a collection of all the little gizmos and gadgets from party favor bags throughout the year
  11. Temporary tattoos and/or stickers
  12. Small bags of microwavable popcorn
  13. Fruit leathers (made with 100% fruit)
  14. Homemade crayons made in muffin tins in the oven (google it)
  15. Local apples…they are currently in season so why not!

What do to with all the candy that your kid does get…

  1. Allow them to keep a few pieces and then trade in the rest to you for a quarter each…then off to the toy store or dollar store! (This method can be used all month-long or even all year-long)
  2. Keep it simple – just offer your kids the choice to trade in all their candy for a trip to the toy store or for something else they’ve been really wanting like a trip to Monkey Joe’s
  3. Leave the bulk of the candy out on the front porch for the mysterious “Halloween Witch” who will miraculously leave a non-candy surprise (like a game or a toy) in its place…tell them the “better” the candy the “better” the surprise!
  4. Ship your candy off to the troops
  5. Or combine the best of both worlds – find a local dentist who participates in a Halloween Candy Buy Back Program because they will give you something in exchange for the candy and also ship it off to the troops for you!

If you have any other ideas or suggestions please leave them in the comments below.

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144 comments to Real Food Tips: 20 Ways to do Halloween without candy!

  • Loara Owen

    You could also donate the candy to recovery centers for recovering alcohol/drug addicts. The sugar helps curb the addiction.

  • Renee

    I too do not like the idea of passing out candy but looking for alternatives. Years ago I did the cheap toy thing but now that I have been a mom for a decade I realized awhile back we all don’t want to deal with the cheap toys cluttering our home. Don’t support company’s that sell cheap junk just so it can eventually go to the landfill. Plus these toys are made of pour quality of plastic is probably bad for our health and definitely bad for the environment. Another site suggested handing out twenty cents (the cost of a halloween small candy bar). I like that idea because I think the kids will be happy with it and it is something that doesn’t end up in the landfill.

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  • Marlin

    After being hit with several articles of “don’t ruin Halloween” I started feeling guilty and went looking for a safe place to defend my non candy tradition. First off I’m type 2 diabetic. The last thing I need is a bucket of candy around my house. Secondly, I have real world experience because I’ve been doing this for years. Sorry CJ Mini microwave popcorn is the big winner here. Even on the years when I offered real sugar alternatives I have no trouble giving away popcorn. I heard a group of tweens planing their Halloween once. I went something like this: We will go to this house for popcorn and this house for sodas then my house for movies. Perfect, I loved it that I could be part of their non pranking plan. About some of the other ideas. I’ve done the toys. Mostly it was hard to pick what would be popular that year. Pencils actually worked, but it is a special case here. The grade school gestapo had a strict rule about mechanical pencils. she would actually walk into class rooms and take them straight from the kids hands. (serious control issues) So as part of my rebellion issues I offered these to kids . They are quiet (clickless) and look a lot like a wooden pencil My kids had successfully used them in the prison state, so I knew the kids could get away with them. I’d buy a 24 pack every year and always ran out. (I use a choice bowl, pick what you like). Most of the pillowcase grade trick or treaters in my town hit the big neighborhood parties, so most of my treaters are local and know me. Having said that I do have regulars who return every year for the popcorn.

    In defense of the popcorn Younger kids love it because it is a big sized treat for them. it is also unusual for them to get their own bag at home so this is cool. Older kids often mention it is a great save it for later treat. Parents don’t seem to object. The one worry I have left is the toddlers and pretoddlers. I’m pretty sure this snack is not age appropriate so I always have something for the tinys.

    As for those years when I have done candy (and this is not going to be one) I got a hint years ago that I have followed much to my own children’s chagrin. At a predetermined time the last kid to knock on the door gets whatever is left in the bowl. Open your bag I’m dumping this bowl. I figure it’s a good hint to them that it might be time to head home.


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