The jumbo-sized bags of candy at the grocery store serve as a constant reminder (and temptation) that Halloween is right around the corner. Boxes full of sticky, gummy treats and caramel filled chocolate are staples handed out at most front doors. While candy is the traditional favorite, it isn’t the only option on the night of Trick-or-Treat (and at all the Halloween parties leading up to it). Due to the growing number of food allergies, coupled with an increasingly health-conscious society, many parents are opting to hand out other treats at their houses. In addition to being better for your teeth, non-sweet treats add a new twist and surprise for trick-or-treaters.
For the allergy-friendly
If you are concerned about food allergies, try to hand out non-edible items. For example, Play-doh for the younger kids is a huge hit, and is a good toy for the cold winter months waiting just around the corner. Glow sticks are another alternative that are fun for all ages and can be used while out that night. Glow sticks can be bought inexpensively in large quantities, so stock up, because they could be a popular item. Bubbles are another easy alternative that can be popular with all ages. Finally, stickers, pencils and erasers for arts and crafts can be distributed for future play. If you choose to not offer a food item, consider placing a teal pumpkin in your front yard or on your door. This will indicate that your house is serving allergy-friendly surprises this year.
If you aren’t quite ready to give up handing out food, then try to find something more redeeming than a candy bar. While most kids would turn up their nose to carrot sticks or an apple—which could result in no trick-or-treaters next year—most will happily accept other snacks. Head to a big-box store where they specialize in large quantities of single serving snacks. Goldfish, Pirate’s Booty, and popcorn are alternatives that are both parent and kid approved. Yogurt covered raisins can also be a treat that is easy to pass out, and is still sweet enough to trick most kids into enjoying. If you choose to go this route, remember to buy individually-packaged treats so they pass the parent-safety test!
A real departure from tradition
Finally, consider handing out small bottles of water or no-sugar added fruit juices so that kids (and parents!) can partake while walking the neighborhood. If you really want to knock it out of the park, cartons of reduced fat milk have been known to be popular.
If you decide to take the plunge and hand out alternative treats, it may seem daunting to provide something fun and still desired by kids of all ages. Don’t let the stress tempt you into buying the ten-pound bag of chocolate. Many party stores, dollar stores or large discount stores like Oriental Trading specialize in large quality, popular items for a low cost. Take a look around their websites before throwing in the towel. Who knows, you could become the most popular house on the block! Well…at least you’ll always be more popular than the creepy house on the corner that gives out apple slices and black licorice!