Don’t get me wrong, candy is rad. I remember our prized bags of loot after trick-or-treating, how we’d dig through it and organize by our personal value systems (only to dump it all back into the bag again). I remember how my mom would go through it that night and throw out anything questionable, including fresh produce from the well-meaning, non-candy camp.
I’m apparently getting old, because now as the kids in cute costumes times approaches, I’m motivated to try and figure out healthy, still-generally-accepted-as-safe, yet also desirable things to hand out to kids on Halloween. I’d like to offer up one less non-sustenance thing in the mound o’ candy that’s slowly consumed for weeks. (I’d actually like to just see some trick-or-treaters. Only a handful of kids actually come to our house because I live in a city where people drive their kids to other neighborhoods to trick-or-treat. Our nabe doesn’t make the cut.)
Jeanne, my fabulous gluten-free friend and author, posted to facebook to remember that kids with food allergies like to trick-or-treat too; she hands out Stretch Island fruit leather. Another friend, Kami, who runs this cool group in Austin started a feed on the same subject; she hands out balloons or poppers and occasionally candy. Here are a few of the ideas mentioned in both feeds for possible other other-than-candy alternatives for trick-or-treaters:
- all-fruit leather [mentioned above]
- mini water bottles and mini juice boxes
- freeze-dried fruit pouches, like these from Costco (astronaut food is cool). I’d probably hunt around and find these organically if planning to keep them on hand for more than one-time snacking.
- individual bags of pretzels or even animal crackers (admittedly not for the gluten allergy kiddos)
- granola or breakfast bars (trick or treating is gruelling work, gotta keep up the power!)
- boxes of raisins (the ones that are individually wrapped in plastic so parents won’t later pitch them)
- glow bracelets
- balloons (not blown up)
- poppers (the things that make a big ruckus when dropped)
Some of these things may be cost-prohibitive for folks who get large volumes of kids. I’d love to hear from you all to see what kinds of things you offer up. When money is tight we opt for candy that has ingredients we mostly understand (YumEarth brand gummy bears, plain chocolates, York peppermint patties—though I don’t know if kids generally like these or if we get them because I don’t mind when no kids come by and we have a surplus!)
No trick-or-treaters (like my nabe)? Watch my friend Hilah’s special Halloween edition video on making a costume for your dog. Be prepared to laugh.