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

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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139 thoughts on “Real Food Tips: 20 Ways to do Halloween without candy!”

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  1. great ideas!

    Here in the Salem, MA area, where candy overflows, some moms I know also use the “Switch Witch”. You have a night enjoying candy and then leave all the leftovers by the front door (inside). In the morning, the witch will have come and switched all your candy for a toy!

  2. I proposed to my kids to not trick or treat at all. All of that candy that is so horrible for you… Not good. I would limit the candy to my kids, but then my husband would sit and eat most of it! Yuck. Instead, we will be having a Halloween Party with family and friends. There will be costumes, crafts, games, hayrides, haunted forest walk and HOMEMADE healthy “treats.” This is the first year I am excited for Halloween! My kids are so excited for the party that they aren’t giving trick or treating a thought. Win for this mama.

  3. When my kids were little, their dentist used to have someone dress up as the toothfairy a couple days after Halloween and buy the Halloween candy from the kids. My kids would eat a little for those two days and then look forward to getting money from the toothfairy and we would go buy a little toy for them with that money (plus what I had to kick in). Save us all calories and junk in our bodies. :)

  4. We do hand out candy, with a mix of pencils, skull rings and cheap Halloween toys I bought the year before when Target put them on sale. I do let the kids pick out about 20 pieces of candy (more than enough, they lose interest after two weeks) and either send the rest out to my husband’s office or find a dentist in the Buy Back Program. When I lived in CA a local dentist had a triple threat: he would buy back the candy, send it to the troops AND give a donation to the school!

  5. It is really sad to be sending GMO candy to others, when we are against eating it ourselves. Sugar is bad for us all, even in small quantities.

    1. I feel like I can’t win when it comes to Halloween. It’s either junky candy or junky plastic stuff that gets added to the landfill.

    1. We don’t eat any of the candy (special medical diet). But my daughter still wants to trick or treat. When she was younger, we did a trade in for a special toy. Once she got to be 7 years old, and money became more interesting to her, she wanted to trade in for money instead. 1 pound of candy = $1.00.

      You could do something similar, whatever your budget will allow and taking into consideration the age of your kids.

  6. The night of Hallowe’en, they are allowed to have a few treats (usually not more than about 3 of them) and then my husband and I go through them as our son is allergic to peanuts. Once the bags have been checked, the kids go and pick out all the treats they would like to keep that will fit into a small baggie; the rest go to work with myself and my husband to share with colleagues. Working with grad students, the candies go FAST!