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A Parent’s Guide: 5 Alternatives to Halloween Candy

Published by Kristen Andras

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A Kind Way to Trick the Little Treaters

Aaaah, Halloween, that time of year when the leaves swirl and fall to the ground and the full moon casts its eerie light. Kids dress as hobgoblins, ghosts, and monsters. Carrying a pillowcase, they go knocking at the neighbors’ doors to collect candy.

And a week later, the parents carry a pillowcase of money and knock at the dentist’s door.

I know this for a fact. Not because of my kid’s cavities, but because of the fillings that regularly fell out of my mouth the week or two after Halloween. Well, maybe “fell out” is a little misleading. The actual wording should be “pulled out.”

That’s what I get for eating left-over taffy candy from Halloween.

Take heart, though, there are fun alternatives to the candy that creates cavities and pulls out fillings. In the culture we live in, where candy, cookies, and sweets are sometimes a daily treat, I’ve seen children get pretty excited over alternative goodies in their Halloween sacks.

Here are a few candy-free ideas for this Halloween:

Pencils: Kids love receiving pencils with Halloween designs. If you can’t find Halloween motifs, look for pencils that have swirled colors and other painted images. For those special little people that show up at your door, you can even order pencils with the child’s name inscribed on them. Look for pencils in office supply, dollar, or party supply stores.

Stickers: Regular stickers, scratch ‘n sniff, themed stickers … there’s an endless abundance of stickers available. If you purchase them by the roll, you can tear off as many as you’d like for each hobgoblin at the door. These can be found in craft, dollar, or discount stores. Oriental Trading also has rolls of 100 stickers for a very reasonable price.

Toothbrushes: This is a great ‘treat” because it helps undo the damage done by all the sweets. Check with your local dentist, as he may have suggestions as to where you can purchase toothbrushes in bulk, relatively cheap. You may even be able to talk him into donating a few if you’re giving them out at a charity or church Halloween event.

Money: Now’s the time to round up all those pennies in your home. Give a handful to each child. It’ll only amount to about ten cents each, but kids will love it. For neighborhood children that hold a special place in your heart, you can roll some of the pennies and give them a whole roll. Pennies can be found in your pockets, purses and in your penny jar. (And you might even find a few on the ground, at the grocery store.)

Cheese or Peanut Butter Crackers: Cheese crackers and peanut butter crackers are available in individually wrapped packs. What child wouldn’t love those? Check warehouse stores such as Costco or Sam’s Club for bulk packages that will help cut costs.

Try giving a candy-free treat this year, and see if you don’t feel good about encouraging the little ones to avoid cavities and excessive sugar intake. And give yourself a pat on the back because you’ll also be helping those children who are diabetic–a group that may not always come to mind–to still have Halloween fun.


Corporation for National and Community Service: http://www.nationalserviceresources.org/node/17730
Oriental Trading: http:// www.orientaltrading.com



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