October 29, 2015

My kids love Halloween both for the fun of getting dressed up in costume and for the big bag of Halloween candy they bring home at the end of the night. While there is certainly nothing wrong with a few pieces of candy for Halloween, there are years that they come home with a supply that will last until the next Halloween. I don’t need to be eating the leftovers from their bag either.

There are healthier alternatives to Halloween candy that you can offer trick or treaters. Many people buy bags of Halloween candy because it’s what they’ve always offered, and it’s what they can find quickly. You can stop at the health food store or food coop and pick up candy without artificial dyes or high fructose corn syrup. But, even if you won’t be near the health food store, there are alternatives in traditional stores you can offer as well.

As much as you’d like to, don’t offer home baked items or fresh fruit for Halloween. Because these aren’t individually packaged and in tamper evident packages, most parents simply throw these in the garbage to be safe. These healthier alternatives to Halloween candy will work instead:

  • Individual packages of salted nuts. I’ve seen almonds, peanuts, and mixed nuts at most stores. Because some children have nut allergies, be sure to offer a nut-free alternative as well.
  • Individual packages of salted seeds. Pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds are popular mainstream snack items.
  • Dried raisins or cranberries. There are individual sized packages of these treats you can purchase.
  • Stickers. Stickers are loads of fun, and you can buy them by the roll. Just cut off a few for each child.
  • Plastic toys. I’m not a huge fan of plastic things, but there are cute plastic spiders, fake fangs and googly eyes kids love to play with.
  • School supplies. Halloween pencils and erasers are always popular in my house. Heck, I like them too!
  • Gold coins. You can purchase dark chocolate gold coins that are made from good quality, no preservative, dark chocolate.
  • Spare change. Younger kids love being able to grab a handful of pennies and nickels for their piggy bank. Just be sure the coins are pennies and nickels and not quarters.

Because there are so many food allergies and intolerances to deal with today, it’s best to offer food treats in a separate bowl from non-food treats. That way if a child does have a nut allergy, they can safely reach into the non-food bowl and grab a few stickers instead with no worries of contamination.

What healthier alternatives to Halloween candy do you offer?