The Only Halloween Candy I’ll Buy (Plus Other Alternatives)

I am actually not even handing out candy this year, but if I were going to there’s only one type of candy I’d be spending my money on.

Check out my recent Charlotte Today Show clip below to see…

  • The “cleanest” Halloween candy on the market.
  • What I am going to hand out this year.
  • Other fun alternatives to candy.
  • What my daughters would choose out of all these ideas.

Plus for those who know us you better watch out because my 8-year-old now thinks she is “famous” after her 5 (silent) minutes on TV during this clip. The girls were just going to the studio to watch me do this segment, but at the last minute (to their delight) they were invited to join us on stage. :)

Oh and PS – I know the mention of handing out “bouillon cubes” seems really random, but the host (Colleen) was joking about giving those out earlier in the show! Definitely don’t hand those out – ha!

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150 thoughts on “The Only Halloween Candy I’ll Buy (Plus Other Alternatives)”

  1. What great ideas! Letting the kids indulge for one night then getting rid of the candy, glow sticks and water – I’m using these!

  2. I bought Annie’s organic bunny-shaped fruit snack bags in my daughter’s favorite flavors to hand out. It costs the same as a large candy bar, but it is healthy and delicious. My kids ate them all the way through the college years. They are well known and loved. I really doubt the kids or their Moms will through them out. It also sends a message that I think my neighbors’ children deserve organic treats for Halloween. That is being a good neighbor. Of course, I can only give out 1 to a customer because they are pricey. I really doubt the kids will say, “what another one of these?”

  3. Did you see that Angie’s Popcorn has also made smaller bags for Halloween this year? That is what we are going to bring for my 4 yr old’s birthday at school next week. I was also excited to see Halloween size Pirate’s Booty, Cliff Bars, Annie’s Gummie Bunnies at the store as well as all the stuff you featured!

  4. Just wanted to say your daughters are mega cute and I like all the ideas, because let’s face it they are JUST YOUR ideas. So thank you xxxx

  5. Good ideas, but I have to agree with many of the other people here about the waste generated from the plastic toys. Kids are happy with them for a day or two and then they go straight to the land fill.

  6. I agree, with other posters, please avoid the the glow bracelets as the toxic chemicals could leach out when in landfills. Also the little plastic toys are usually played with for a day before then end up cluttering one’s house and then being tossed into the landfill. Not to mention the plastic toy was probably made in china or other third world country where people were paid pennies to make that product.

    I don’t love the loads of Halloween candy either. We let our kids enjoy a few pieces after trick or treating, pick out 20 of their favorites and bring the rest to the candy buy back program offered by a local dentist.
    http://www.halloweencandybuyback.com/search-results.html
    The kids still get to enjoy some candy, but it’s gone in 2 weeks.

  7. Our halloween school party will focus on healthy choices: I’m dressing as a mad sugar scientist and presenting kids the opportunity to guess the amount of sugar in their favorite snacks stacking sugar cubes. Then, will have a 2 plates set up–one full of healthy snack ideas and the other just full of candy. Hoping to teach a lesson on balance and good choices in the midst of a sugar shower! (Note –often the kids at school are bringing loads of processed junk for “healthy” snack, (cheese-its, chips and packaged crackers/hostess products show up constantly) so trying to educate them with some new ideas)

  8. Good ideas… but I’d modify the Switch Witch poem, or at least be very careful with how I presented it. Some kids might misunderstand and think that cats like to eat candy and try feeding it to the family pet, not understanding that chocolate will make their pet very, very sick – or worse!

  9. Wow–bad ideas en masse! Glow sticks–can we say “toxic chemicals,” boys and girls? Plastic, plastic, plastic–95% of that crap is gonna be in the landfill poisoning our ground water by November 1. Boxes of raisins–WAY too easy to tamper with. If you don’t want your kids to have candy, here’s an idea: don’t take them trick-or-treating. Plenty of kids don’t participate in this activity, and you can easily give them something else to do at home that’s every bit as fun and still jives with your parenting philosophies. And if you don’t want to give out candy, just turn off your porch light.

  10. Last year I gave out Annie’s organic kettle corn and it seemed to go over well! I plan to give that out again, along with glow-in-the-dark bracelets. If I run out of kettle corn, I’ll give out Clif Kid fruit ropes. For my son’s candy loot, we usually go through and keep what I feel are the least harmful candies and throw away the rest. It’s a great teaching moment to talk about why we don’t put certain ingredients in our bodies.

  11. We LOVE unreal candy!! My kids are big fans. I trade their candy in for this candy. I also really love your idea of the switch witch! Great ideas. Thanks Lisa.

  12. The Sugar Fairy visits our house once my daughter is asleep on Halloween. The Sugar Fairy leaves some of the chocolate and takes all of the candy and the rest of the chocolate.  She then uses her magical fairy power to send it to the U.S. military abroad. This is called http://www.halloweencandybuyback.com through OperationGratitude.com. You can find lists of local dentists that will accept the candy at the above website. Also, your child can write a note thanking the soldiers. 
    The Sugar Fairy leaves a present, such as a book. Your child feels good, because they have filled someone’s bucket by giving away much of their treats,, they keep some chocolate and get a present. It’s a win win!

  13. OH MY GOSH I love the switch witch idea, definitely wish I had that as a kid.. definitely would have saved me from a lot of halloween candy eating. I am also going to buy some Unreal candy! Never heard of it before, but I have a massive sweet tooth and want to treat myself on halloween!

  14. Great post. Organic juice is a great option (but Honest is owned by Coca Cola so I’d skip that). Pencils or erasures are fun too. Overall anything non-toxic is good. Like you said, even a little “unreal” candy. I have to try that one… sounds great!

  15. Great ideas! And if you think about it, if you stop by the dollar store, it may be cheaper to buy $10 worth of bags that have high item count in it, than purchasing only large bags of candy that can only take you so far with passing out on Halloween night. Thanks for the inspiration!

  16. I wouldn’t bother either with the ‘Honest Kids’ juices, beside the fact of careless hands discarding plastic all over the neighborhood, but the ‘Honest Teas’ company is against publicizing GMO ingredients on products. Just FYI.

  17. I am the mom who hands out anything but candy. I am slightly ashamed to admit that I hand out all my kids discarded little oriental trading like toys. This year I am also handing out pencils. I would alos caution about handing out glow sticks if you are wanting to save the environment. They are good for one to two days and then end up in the trash. Or worse yet, they break and leak their chemical ooze.

  18. I really like your healthy Halloween ideas, but I have to agree that giving out plastic toys or plastic water bottles, is very wasteful to the environment. I also believe the kids should have fun and live a little on Halloween and enjoy candy. The crap that is put in candy is far from perfect, but plastic waste isn’t any better.

  19. My hubs could not believe last year when I decided to give out single serve hummus packets, single organic no-sugar added applesauces, organic and fairly traded chocolates, oatmeal breakfast bars and raisens. He kept thinking we would get toilet-papered that night – we did not. More expensive sure but I thought if I have to cut the treat-giving short (due to less inventory) that night, so be it. We have a 3 y/o and a 4 m/o and I realized I don’t want to give junk anymore. I have since become vegan so, now I have to make sure treats are without dairy as well but I may just keep it simple and keep it down to two items. Happy trick or treating!

  20. Since we live in the “country”, we don’t get any trick or treaters. In the past, I bought the Yummy Earth Organic lollipops, they are made with real sugar and even I think they taste good! I’m not normally a lollipop kind of person. I love some of these new tips. I will use them for Trunk or Treat events.

  21. Loved the presentation, however, we can’t get into the flavor of Honest Kids, it tastes so bland :( Maybe we’re consuming too much sugar.

  22. Loved the video! Your girls are just adorable!
    I notice the Honest kids pouches on there which I have been buying for my kids (we all love them) but have stopped recently bc it has ‘natural flavors’ listed in the ingredients, not once but TWICE! ..I am confused as to what to make of ‘natural flavors’ in certified organic products???

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi there. Here is the “official definition”: from Title 21, Section 101, part 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations is as follows:

      “The term natural flavor or natural flavoring means the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional.”

      So, it can be just about anything approved for consumption that a company wants to call proprietary. I know that doesn’t help much. ~Amy

  23. I LOVE this post! This is the first year we’ve lived in the city to be able to have Trick-or-treat kiddos. I bought glow bracelets and Angrybird tattoos to hand out rather than candy. I’m still searching for little things like these to incorporate into our “goodie bucket” that are cost efficient and not food related.

  24. We’ve done glow sticks the last 2 years and the neighborhood kids LOVE it! It was our first time being somewhere that we’d actually have trick-or-treaters, and it was a hit. I didn’t want to hand out candy. We love the unjunked candy here, too. Our local zoo gives palm oil free candy to the kiddos, and it’s always unjunked candy, larabars, and pirates booty snacks. I feel okay with my son eating those things. Last year was the first year that my son actually trick-or-treated, and the Switch Witch came to visit him. He didn’t mind at all.

  25. Please dont give out water bottles and add to the landfill. The glow sticks is a good idea but I have to think about being that 1 house that doesn’t give out halloween candy. Kinda risky when we are new to the neighborhood.. :) But again.. please dont give out plastic non degradable stuff.

  26. Great Ideas!

    What I am going to do is to give my toddler some unreal and forest chocolate bars instead of what he’ll get.

    Glow sticks and water was brilliant; that’s what I am given away. Love your website and Facebook page by the way. I have shared your posts always.

    Keep up the great work and thanks for sharing!

  27. I am an elementary school teacher and for the last 2 years, we have collected Halloween candy from our students for Operation Gratitude. Check their website to find a local dentist who is participating. They will pay children for their candy (usually $1), and then the candy is sent in a care package to our troops still overseas. We always included thank you cards written by the children. It is a good lesson in giving back and a great way to get rid of all that candy. http://www.operationgratitude.com/halloween-candy-buy-back-2012/

  28. THANK YOU so much for being so realistic about this topic! I clicked on the video, dreading that you would talk about handing out apples or orange slices or something like that for Halloween treats. The vast majority of trick-or-treating kids are expecting CANDY and anything that looks “healthy” would likely end up thrown on your lawn! But your ideas are great — stickers, glow sticks, and juice boxes … What a great idea! And thank you for saying it’s OK to just eat the darn candy that night! I love that you acknowledge that junk food is a normal part of everyday life but it shouldn’t stress us out. Eat it, enjoy it, be done with it and move on.

  29. Great info! We tried an experiment last Halloween and offered choosing from either a basket with candy or a basket with stickers, tattoos and fruit. Candy still won out, but the non-candy options were a hit, especially with the parents!

    Although this year my 8 year old son has already told me he only wants us to hand out candy! I think he would go for those fangs though!

    Here’s the link if you want to read about it!

    http://lovewell-livewell.com/2012/11/02/a-halloween-experiment-candy-vs-oranges-and-stickers/

  30. I loved your video clip!! Can’t wait for your cookbook to come out!! I know what I’ll be buying next year :) Do you know what the price point will be yet?

  31. I love the idea of the “unjunked” candy for Halloween. We have nut allergies in our family. Do you know of a product that is both real and but allergy friendly?

    1. Kathryn @ Mamacado

      Angie – as a mama of a 3 year old with multiple food allergies (nuts included) we stick with handing out organic lollipops and fruit snacks. We try to focus on real food all the time, but we also have to focus on what’s safe for my son! Here are a few ideas of what I bought for my son last Halloween to replace the candy he collected that was not safe for him.

      http://www.mamacado.com/2012/11/halloween-happiness.html

  32. I usually order things from Oriental Trading or hit a party store. This year i have halloween pencils, halloween stickers, bouncy balls, and halloween hand stampers. I do buy a couple bags of ‘mix’ candy and give the trick or treaters an option, suprisingly more of them pick the ‘toys’ than the candy. Personally I have a weakness for Dum Dum lollipops, I always buy a big bag at Halloween and whatever is left comes to work the next day where I walk around going ‘dum dum’, ‘dum dum’. You know it’s the little things. :)

  33. Please don;t hand out water bottles/drink packs… just plan ahead! Those bottles are so wasteful. Those little bottles take 700 years to decompose when they end up in landfill. Same for all the cheap plastic toys.

    We gave out organic lollipops last year. :)

  34. Hey Lisa! Great video clip AND tips! You’re all lovely :) This post seems like a good place to share my last post — so more people can find out — about the terrible injustice of chocolate! SO sad. It’s about where it comes from and how kids (who have most likely NEVER before eaten a piece of chocolate as we know it) most definitely suffer from it’s production :( http://fresh-you.blogspot.com/2013/10/fair-trade-chocolate.html Happy Halloween!

  35. Great ideas!! Just want to say that what you are doing is wonderful!! You inspire me everyday! Thank you for all your hard work and helpful information, lunch ideas, etc!!

  36. In addition to trying to teach my kids about choosing healthy foods, I also think it’s important to steer children away from products that are not healthy for the environment. I included a link below about the ways glowsticks can harm the environment as well as other small plastic toys that add up and are (at least in my house) so quickly forgotten about…usually ending up in the garbage a few days later. I applaud your trying to find alternatives to the candy, however!

    http://greengta.ca/green-tips/glow-sticks-and-environment-halloween

  37. Thank you for all that you provide! I have been following you for about a year. We are blessed to have all your tips, resources, and positive spirit. This sessions was so sweet. Your girls are adorable. Thank you again. (I tell all my friends about your blog!)

  38. Connie Klinglesmith

    I buy beanie babies in bulk at garage sales all summer, tags still on, brand new. The kids scream every year saying “Mom, this is the beanie baby house”!

  39. Thanks so much for posting this! I get so tired of seeing all the candy go ’round and ’round. And now that I have a toddler who cannot have sugar (even fruit juice!), I am even more interested in alternatives.

    For the past few years we have been giving books for treats (see Booksfortreats.org for more info), which has gone over quite well. No egging of our house but rather thankful parents and greedy older teenagers! I stumbled across this Californian-born idea (I’m in Arkansas) one day and went with it. The first year I also gave out little plastic spider rings if they wanted it. AND one of the moms asked for a book! ha That was funny because I only collect books for infant through 6th grade. :)

    Thanks again for all the ideas in the video clip, and the extra ideas from commenters. Love the idea to fork over candy to the dentist for troops, and the clementines with food-safe marker faces!

  40. One Halloween a friend and I dressed up as snow white and the witch for our church’s trunk-or-treat. I handed out the candy in a witch’s cauldron and had apples among the candy for effect. You wouldn’t believe how many kids wanted the apples over the candy! I could definitely see kids liking the raisins! Thanks for the inspiration.

  41. In year’s past, we’ve done small bags of snack popcorn, mad-libs, playing cards (party favor sizes) or priate booty. May not be all “real food” but have been trying to avoid the candy hoopla. Our school also does a candy buyback program with the local dentist – they donate buy it for $X per pound as a fundraiser. I tell my girls they can keep 20 pieces and they bring the rest to school. And usually, they only get a few pieces and we throw much of it away.

  42. Last year I bought granola bars, pirate booty and candy. We actually leave our bowl unattended on our porch while we go house to house with the kids… the pirate booty and granola bars were the 1st to go!!!! I was sort of bummed b/c I intended them to be lunch bag treats for my son!

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Fan. Not sure about that one in particular but I have seen similar baskets at Michael’s and Hobby Lobby. ~Amy

    1. LOL – Did you catch how big her smile was at one point when she realized the camera was back on her! She has told everyone about her 5 minutes of fame. It has been cracking me up!

  43. Your daughters are so adorable…

    Do you never mention their names in order to protect their privacy? I’ve written baby name books so I just have an avid interest in these things. I’ve come up with my own names for them since it hasn’t been revealed :P

  44. For the past couple of years we have ordered the Brothers-All-Natural dried fruit chips and it has been a BIG hit! They do a special bag for the apple chips at Halloween! I had first discovered them when sending healthy food to my husband when he was deployed. I have found it is less expensive to order on-line and have it shipped. They weigh nothing. I get a couple of cases. Last year I mixed it up and gave out apple chips and peach chips. Never have left-overs, but if I did they would be healthy to still have around the house for us! Love them :-)

  45. In my old neighborhood one of the houses gave out cute kid toothbrushes! Very appropriate considering the holiday! I am sure if you plan ahead you could buy them in bulk to make them more affordable. I have also seen where they have smaller versions with minimal packaging to lower cost as well.

  46. Great ideas! I found out about UnReal candy earlier this year and loved it. I’ve had the peanut butter cups, knock-off Snickers and knock-off Milky Ways. I think in some ways they almost taste better than the name brand items that everyone buys. The chocolate seems creamier to me. I’ve noticed them popping up in more stores lately and have even seen coupons in some of the flyers. Glad that it is starting to get out there and become a larger company. Now if they could just find a way to make unjunked Starburst and Skittles type candy. :)

  47. we get between 300-350 kids at our door every year so a lot of non-candy options are quite cost prohibitive. We bought playdoh from costco in the tiny containers (not the best because of the plastic but cheap and not candy), stickers, glowsticks….we do usually end up giving out some candy but we generally give it to the older kids.

  48. Years ago my husband ended up home on Halloween unexpectctedly & had no candy to give out. So he raked up a bowl full of acorns in the back yard & sat with them on the front porch with the lights out. He dropped a handful of acorns in each kids container & in the dark no one could tell whist it was. Makes for funny stories this time of year.

  49. That was so great to see you and your girls showing how you can think outside of the candy box on Halloween! I will definitely be borrowing your ideas for my trick or treaters! Thanks so much for this website!

    1. The Dollar Tree carries the glow sticks and I’ve also seen them at Wal-Mart in the birthday section where you find all their decorations. Both places have pretty much the same price.

  50. Yay! How cool! We don’t get any trick-or-treaters, but if we did, I would totally hand out those little toys. Heck, I would probably spend all night playing with them myself!

  51. We pass out juice as well as clementine “pumpkins”. It gets hot here in Florida and the parents are so happy that it’s NOT CANDY. :)

  52. Last year a Neighbour had a bowl of plastic bugs and let the kids each pick one. My 5 year old son still has his in his box of favourite toys. I’ve seen big bags at the Dollar Store. Think we will do that this year, along with some fruit leather.

  53. We are passing out glow sticks this year- my kids love them, and since we live in a neighborhood that doesn’t have street lights, I figure it can’t hurt.
    You mentioned the “Switch Witch” in your video clip- I looked for it, and can’t find it, can you post a link, please? Thank you so much!! :)

  54. Great job on the segment, Lisa. Now, let’s get you on the “national” Today show! So I took your inspiration from a few weeks ago when you posted that you were buying glow sticks for your Halloween handout this year. I bought the glow-in-the-dark vampire teeth and my boys are absolutely BONKERS over this! My 6 year old told me the other day that these are WAY better than candy. And he is more excited about the homemade merengue ghosts and popcorn balls I will be making this year than the thought of getting a bunch of junk, manufactured candy. You are awesome, thank you.

  55. We’ve been candy-free for a couple of years, and we’re one of the most popular houses on the block. This year I’ve got an assortment of cool pencils, tattoos, glow in the dark bouncy balls and glow sticks. The kids of all ages love it, and it’s less expensive than candy anyway!

  56. My mom hasn’t given out candy on Halloween for years. She gives out toys and things like that. She used to buy things from Oriental Trading. One year my dad & sister went to Mardi Gras and she saved all the bead necklaces and gave those out to the girls. Not once has she had a complaint (or her house egged ;-)) and more often than not, the kids ‘ooh’ & ‘awww’ in delight. Even the older ones.

  57. Such great ideas. Thank you so much! We went camping this past weekend and there was Trick o Treating. I set up a basket of raisins, candy, and play doh. Surprisingly, the play doh was the first to go, even with the older kids. Thank you for everything you are doing and for sharing. You are doing an outstanding job!

  58. Love the ideas! I’m also do glow items and have some stickers for the really young ones. I will have a little candy too but have always been amazed how excited kids are to have non-candy options! Great job. :)

  59. LOL love this post but noticed the captioning had some mistakes, the bullion cubes turned into bully him lol I think we’re doing the glow in the dark teeth and glow sticks

  60. cherylene wallace

    I also let the kids eat some candy on Halloween night but another thing we do is take half the candy down to our local dentist. The dentist gives the kids $1 per pound and then in turn they take the candy and send it to the troops over seas so that they have a treat. My kids LOVE This. They feel like they are doing something nice for the soldiers and it’s a bonus that they get a little cash too. Just a thought for those that are looking for another way to rid the candy.

  61. Loved the interview. Love the website and FB page. :) Keep up the good work. I love the idea of the switch witch. I would have preferred $10 on Halloween to a sore stomach the next day any year! Give me about 4 reese’s cups, and I’m set til the next year! :) Happy Halloween!

  62. Honestly how many pixie sticks and skittles does a kid need?! At the last block party we had I gave all the kids glow sticks and they went nuts over them. Unfortunately, my husband is afraid the teenagers may egg our house if we give those out at Halloween … I say let them, but he insisted on a regular ol’ bag of candy at Costco. I will still sneak a few non-candy treats in there and see what the kids go for! ;)

      1. That’s what I said! And that gives me an idea, maybe those teenagers who throw on a mask and go out to get free candy should get a separate bowl to choose from (full of toothbrushes and kale chips … hee hee.)

  63. Also wanted to add that one year at school my daughter signed up to bring goody bags for the class for their fall party and we bought clementines and with a sharpie drew pumpkin faces on them. Those were a big hit, especially when you put them in a plastic cup with a couple of other goodies.

  64. You can’t even take your kids to work with you without somebody giving them candy without even asking you. I can’t believe the TV host did that!

    1. I know what you are saying, but in this situation I am the one who bought/brought the candy. And just for the record I totally intended to let my daughters have 1 piece after the segment anyway so it really was okay with me :)

  65. Great Video and ideas. Having done Halloween now for the past 13 years with kids. I agree with the glow sticks/teeth etc. Another thing they loved that I started when we had over 100 kids come to the door one year. I buy those little paper bags that you can get at Walgreens/target, they are about 40 per pkg. I would put like 1 dum dum sucker, 1 glow stick, 1 toy and sometimes a piece of chocolate in it and fold over the top. Sooo many kids were loving just the fact that they were getting a bag, even the teenagers!

    My grandma used to give out a small 3 musketeers and a nickle or dime. All the kids loved that!

  66. Good suggestions!

    But I’d be concerned about the (very possible and probable) toxins and, like phthalates, in the plastic vampire teeth… :)

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