Sugar is not a requirement for a good time, even at Halloween when the sight of orange jack-o-lantern candy containers brings us back to childhood neighborhood wanderings. In these days of heightened awareness about childhood diabetes and the effect sugar has on our kids, it is possible to have a fun Halloween trick-or-treat without the sugar rush.
Here are some non-candy ideas for your neighborhood kids who ring your doorbell on October 31st.
1- Cellophane wrapped coins: A bad of candy costs approximately $4 at the store. That gives you 32 packets of individual sized candy. Fractioning that cost out means that each candy costs around $.14. That is a fun amount of change to give a kid. 14 pennies is a treat to a 5 yr old who is saving for ice cream. I know it may not be a ton of money, wrapping it in a bright orange piece of cellophane with a black ribbon tying it together is a nice change of pace when they dump out their bucket at the end of the night.
2- Plastic themed jewlery: One year I got back from trick-or-treating and discovered lots of little spiders in my bucket. I later saw that they were plastic rings made to look like spiders. The next year I saw several plastic skull rings. These non-candy ideas are great because it gives the kids something to wear as they walk around. It adds to their costume and to the fun of the evening. You can get these little rings at craft stores or online at places like Oriental Trading Co.
3- Themed pencils: Throughout my childhood I collected pencils. I left them unsharpened and kept them in a pink box, which I still have. I’m not sure why I collected pencils and didn’t use them. But I do know that I loved getting themed pencils at the holidays. Pencils with skulls, writing, bats, jack-o-lanterns or witches make for a fun treat for the kids. Adding on a colorful themed eraser adds to the fun. If you have a handful when the kids come to the door and you let them pick out which one they want, it makes them feel like they got exactly the treat they wanted. Even though it is not candy. And, on another plus side, when they finally use their pencil in class it will serve as a reminder of their fun night out.
4- Coloring pages and a small packet of crayons is a nice surprise for kids. And their parents will appreciate having another project to give to the kids when the weather changes and they are stuck inside more. The pages can be copied at an office or even taken apart from a dollar store coloring book. Large boxes of crayons are available for a bulk price and by taking the box apart and tying a few colors together you have a nice packet gift.
5- Collectable cards are also a great treat. Harry Potter, Twilight, baseball teams, Disney….there is always something out there the kids are collecting. Passing out one per child, letting them pick the one they want, adds to their collection. Plus if you hand them out so they can’t see which one they are picking it makes it more like a game and adds to the suspense.
6- Healthy food alternatives: If you would like to hand out food many companies are offering healthy options for trick-or-treating. Individual size bags of nuts, dried fruit or cheeses are great options. Just make sure they are individually wrapped so there is no worry about contamination or anything. People like food, and a good mix of dried fruit and nuts is something everyone can agree on.
I hope this helps. Candy doesn’t have to be a staple in the trick-or-treat festivities. Kids will enjoy coming to your house because they know they will be leaving with something that’s fun and a game and gives more than candy. Let the other houses will give the sweets- you can provide the entertainment.