Candy Alternatives for Halloween

appleHalloween is one holiday that I both hate and love. I love letting my children dress up, and it’s even more exciting to see the look on their faces as they get to get surprise treats.
I am okay with my children having a piece of candy here or there, but we don’t eat anything that is artificially coloured, artificially flavoured, artificially sweetened, or that has high fructose corn syrup, which is pretty much all Halloween candy. Even plain chocolate pieces often have artificial flavourings (usually artificial vanilla). While there are a few places you can find natural candies (even at reasonable prices!), most things available don’t quite fit the bill.

What alternatives are there to candy? Halloween has no written rule that you must give out candy. The saying, after all, is “Trick or treat”… nobody says what that treat has to be! Society is no longer at a place where homemade baked goodies are consumed from strangers, but here are a few ideas for foods and goodies you can give out.

Apples: Apples are a great autumn food, and you can even have fun picking them out. If you have an orchard near by, you could take the children out to pick apples. You get to have a fun family outing and take care of treats at the same time!

Oranges: The peel keeps them nice and safe from all the jostling in the Halloween goody bag/bucket the children have.

Snack packs of Raisins: While fruit seems like a great alternative to candy (give them something healthy to balance all the sweets), it is, admittedly, not nearly as exciting.
If you want something edible that isn’t fruit, try:
  • Goldfish crackers – even the coloured ones are naturally coloured!
  • Graham crackers – tasty, fun shapes, and not candy.
  • Sesame snack sticks
  • Honey Sticks
  • Natural Fruit Snacks (or fruit leathers/strips) – Sweet and not overly healthy.
  • Cookies – Some natural companies make tiny cookie packages for the holidays.
  • Granola or Cereal Bars – from natural companies
  • Juice Boxes – some companies make natural ones
  • Mini-water bottles
  • Individually wrapped cheese sticks (only if it’s not hot out!) 

Looking for something that isn’t edible? Try:

  • Stickers – you can buy a big roll of (large) stickers for as cheap as $3 for 100 stickers. You will have to spend time ripping them apart or cutting them, though.
  • Pencils, character-shaped erasers, Mini notebooks, crayons, or other stationary
  • A colouring sheet (to accompany crayons) – some companies even make colouring pages with seeds pressed into the paper that you can plant in the ground!
  • Temporary Tattoos
  • Mini-bubble containers
  • Play Jewelry
  • Fun Stamps
  • Bouncy balls
  • Seed packets
The list goes on! The great thing about using candy alternatives? You can check out the party stores the day after Halloween and stock up cheap for next year!
Obviously, not every child will appreciate all of these items, so it would be a good idea to have a little variety for them to pick from. I know that, as a child,  if I had gone to a house that had no edible treats and choices of stickers, stamps, or flower seeds, I would have picked the seeds. I loved gardening!
Christine Kangas is a crunchy mother of two. She enjoys gardening, music, and nature. She lives in the mid-western U.S. with her husband, two children, and three cats.

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