Why I Don’t Hand Out Candy On Halloween

The other day on my Facebook page I said, “What is everyone handing out for Halloween this year? We’re doing our usual – glow sticks. I’d love to feature some of your new and creative (non-candy) ideas on the Charlotte Today show later this week!” And I got a barrage of comments, many of which simply answered the question, but also included some of the following…

  • “I’m sorry, but it’s Halloween and they’re children. We give out candy.”
  • “This crosses the line. Too much. It’s once a year!”
  • “If you don’t want to hand out candy, replace it with a healthy alternative treat. But substituting junk food with junky plastic crap isn’t much better in my opinion.”

First of all, I NEVER said my kids don’t get to eat candy on Halloween night. The problem is this: When some people hear that I hand out glow sticks instead of candy they make assumptions and then say (in the comments), “Oh give me a break Halloween is just once a year so let kids be kids!” But when you eat gobs of candy on Halloween night and then continue to eat the rest of the candy for weeks (or months) to come how is it still counted as “just one night?” I have no problem with my children OD’ing on whatever candy they want on Halloween night – and that’s actually what they do – with no limits or constraints from me. But then we actually live up to Halloween being “just one night” and get rid of what’s left (with the exception of maybe 5 or so pieces for “later”).

So my thought process is that children will still get PLENTY of candy on Halloween even if a few of us decide to hand out something different. Not to mention there are lots of FUN alternatives to candy (see below) that I doubt will deprive any child from just being a “kid.” Now, that’s just my two cents on the topic. I occasionally have a hard time when commenters criticize me for something I don’t even do (i.e. not let my kids trick or treat for candy) – so just had to vent about that for a moment. :)

Secondly, how many kids actually EAT every single piece of Halloween candy? Don’t the uneaten pieces (along with the wrappers from the others) end up in the land fill anyway? I promise I’m not personally a huge fan of little plastic “made in China” gadgets either, but I didn’t invent Halloween and like it or not it’s all about handing SOMETHING out. I personally have a hard time seeing how a little skeleton paratrooper is a whole lot different than gobs of candy wrappers in the land fill. Your thoughts on this?

Anyway, now that I got that off my chest let’s get into the fun alternatives that I had a chance to share on the Charlotte Today show yesterday!

Candy-Free Ideas for Trick or Treaters

Candy-Free Ideas for Trick or Treaters on 100 Days of #RealFood

  1. Festive Toys: Witch Fingers  (8 cents/each) and Skeleton Paratroopers (28 cents/each) – found at Party City or Target or online.
  2. Online Finds: Finger Lights (12 cents/each) and Syringe Pens (22 cents/each).

  3. Themed Jokes and Trivia: Lunchbox Love Cards – something different (20 cents/each)!
    And since they are a partner of ours you can get 20% off with coupon code “100DAYS”

  4. Coins: Mostly pennies – mix in some dimes and nickels and tell them to close their eyes before picking!

  5. Glow sticks: My personal favorite and what I am handing out again this year (7 cents/each) – found in the dollar section at Target.

  6. Drinks: Small bottled waters (81 cents/each) and/or organic juice pouches (75 cents/each) because we all know those trick or treaters get thirsty running around the whole neighborhood.

  7. If you still really want candy: How about organic lollipops (9 cents/each) or fruit leathers/twists (83 cents/each) without artificial dyes or other questionable additives?

  8. What do to with all that candy at the end of the night? Invite the Switch Witch over! A big thanks to blog reader Catherine for sharing this poem with us.

The Switch Witch Halloween poem

What are your plans for Halloween night?

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415 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Hand Out Candy On Halloween”

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  1. So as for what to do with all the candy after. My kids are allowed to have a few pieces on Halloween and we save the rest for decorating our own personal gingerbread houses for Xmas. I buy the graham crackers and they each build a house of their design and look forward to all the candy they saved to decorate it. We now look forward to collecting it and planning out the house at Halloween. Win/win as I don’t have to buy candy to decorate the houses!

  2. We have a dentist office that will buy your candy from you for a certain dollar amount per pound. Then they ship it overseas to soldiers! It’s a great treat for the soldiers and saves the kids from consuming too much sugar.

  3. We live in a small town where everyone knows everyone. So it’s much easier to be creative and still have parents who will let their children eat homemade treats. My sister dresses up as a witch and sits out on her porch handing out “witches brew”. It’s homemade root beer that she makes in a cauldron using dry ice. Parents and kids alike love it.

  4. Bonnie Willingham

    Dollar tree is my Halloween shop. I usually buy glow sticks, finger light rings, coloring books, small books, Mad lib books, puzzles.

  5. TOTALLY agree with you on everything!!! I love the switch witch idea! We donate the candy the next day, after I let them choose their favorite 10 pieces or so. One a day until it’s gone. Sugar kills their immune system so I am totally on board with you!

  6. I actually haven’t given out “anything” in years. We are usually never home. Our kids always went to our church fall fair and came home with gobs of candy. By the time we got home it was time for bed anyway. So I just put a sign on the door and left the lights off.
    Now that the kids are adults, I still care very little for Halloween so I still turn out the lights and put a sign on the door.

  7. I too would have a hard time with people being mean to me in comments. If they were being mean about something that I hadn’t even done I’d be sooo upset.

    We too allow our girls to have candy in Halloween. Then they pick out a few and the rest gets given away/thrown out.

    i hate the candy that’s given our at Halloween. I’d much rather my girls have some home baked goods or some yummy chocolate instead of that sticky yucky candy.

    1. Unfortunately, you can no long give out apples or homemade goods thanks to a few evil people who put razor blades in apples in the 60’s and 70’s. My mother and grandmother used to make popcorn balls to give out and everyone loved them. Of course they contained corn syrup, but it wasn’t so prevalent in other foods then. At least now the candy they get isn’t full sized candy bars we got in the 50’s.

  8. I love these ideas! I have a child with food allergies who can’t eat most of the candy that people give out on Halloween, so I ❤️ when people offer something other than candy! I think some of the naysayers have probably never had to deal with a child who is devastated because they can’t have what everyone else is having. Glow sticks get top billing on my book!

  9. I applaud you for handing out something other than candy. I’m so sick of Kids being given candy at every turn throughout the year. At school, church, bday parties, etc…. you can’t escape it. Sugar and all the unnatural things in candy is horrible for our kids’ minds and bodies. Any negative comments are probably coming from people that are either uninformed about the effects of sugar, dyes, etc on the human body or haven’t had a child with a health crisis due to externals such as diet. Keep up the good work!!

  10. We also do the Teal Pumpkin Project, and we have glow sticks, temporary tattoos, and mini bubbles along with our candy options this year. I love the idea of the Switch Witch and will definitely be applying that this year as my kids always end up with so much candy every year.

  11. I prefer to give something other than candy for Halloween. This year I have little puzzles in cute tins for children in primary grades and individual bags of pretzels for those the puzzles won’t appeal to. I have given out Halloween pencils and mini containers of Play-Doh in the past.

  12. I m so sorry that people were mean in the comments. They made me sad – had to stop reading. My son can’t eat those dyes…and they aren’t REAL candy anymore (just chemicals & dyes). AND it’s not just 1 night- it’s Halloween, Christmas (gingerbread houses), Valentines Day, and Easter. It’s forever. Who came up with we must celebrate children with candy? THANK YOU for alternatives.

  13. I love it! I usually do 2 buckets… one with candy and then one with non-candy alternatives as part of the Teal Pumpkin Project. This year I’ve got bouncy balls, bubbles, and pencils as my non-candy goodies.

  14. I love your ideas! This year along with chocolate I am also giving away glow sticks and play doh. My kids think I’m nuts and know how strict I am about junk food every other day of the year, but I just wanted them to know there are choices we all make and maybe, just maybe, whether it’s an intolerance or allergy etc, some child will be so happy that they can choose something other than junk food. Well done!