Fun, Healthy Alternatives to Halloween Candy

Keri Tidwell

Kid holding up Halloween candy

I have a love-hate relationship with Halloween. Growing up, my mom loved the holiday. Every Halloween I can remember my mom would greet me at the bus stop decked out like a scarecrow, a chef or a witch. Then, we would eat a quick bite, put on our costumes and head out to trick-or-treat. Later that night when we were back at home, my brother and I would trade candy and eat Whoppers and Sugar Daddies until we got sick.

Now that I’m the mom, I am not too thrilled with all the sugary treats my children come home with. In the U.S. today, 18.5 percent of children are obese (CDC). Consider also that type 1 and type 2 diabetes are on the rise for children and teens (NIH). Do we really want to contribute to these scary statistics or might there be some healthier options? And what about the growing number of children with food allergies and sensitivities to food dyes? Surely, we can find some better, healthy alternatives.

Here are some healthy but still fun ideas for trick-or-treat goodies. You can buy many of these alternatives to candy in bulk or at the dollar store for an economical option.

  1. Granola bars: Granola bars are great to grab for a quick snack on the go. Be sure to check the labels, because some brands can be loaded with sugar.
  2. Cheese sticks or string cheese: Another healthy, yummy snack kids love.
  3. Clementines: As sweet as sugar and easy for children to peel.
  4. Little flashlights: You can buy mini flashlights on key chains in bulk on Amazon. Perfect for trick-or-treating in the dark.
  5. Tattoos: Fun and inexpensive. Look for the glow-in-the-dark ones.
  6. Slap bracelets: These were all the rage when I was a kid, and they have recently made a comeback.
  7. Glow sticks or bracelets: These are also great to use while out trick-or-treating. You can find packs of six for $1 at the dollar store.
  8. Mini Play-Doh cans: If you have a small neighborhood and can afford to pick these up, this treat would be a real hit with the younger crowd. Look for bulk bags online or in retail stores.
  9. Bubbles: Who doesn’t like to blow bubbles? Find these cheap at the dollar store.
  10. Hot cocoa or hot apple cider packets: Perfect for after trick-or-treating!
  11. Bouncy balls: A favorite for kids of all ages.
  12. Stickers: Look for favorite cartoon characters at the dollar store.
  13. Spider rings: Every year we come home with a couple of these rings, and there’s a fight to see who gets them.
  14. Wacky pencils and erasers: Because these always seem to disappear at our house.

Don’t worry that your house might be rolled because you are not handing out the traditional Halloween candy. Give the neighborhood kids (and their parents) a break from all the sugary sweets with these healthier, but still fun, Halloween candy alternatives! And if you’re the parent, why not dress up with your kids this year? Make a memory they will cherish forever.

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