Trick-or-Treating: It Doesn’t Have to Be All About Candy

Halloween is just around the corner.  

It’s definitely not my favorite holiday. However, I developed a new appreciation for Halloween when we bought our first home and lived in a neighborhood for the first time.  It was so much fun watching all of the children and their families out trick-or-treating together. 

Then I became a mom, and Halloween grew even more exciting.  

Our daughter was only six months old on her first Halloween, and she had a blowout in her strawberry costume before trick-or-treating even began. 

When she was one year old, she was Pebbles from The Flintstones. If I remember correctly, that Halloween was bitterly cold, so we decided to stay home and just enjoy the trick-or-treaters coming to our house.

The first time we took our daughter trick-or-treating she was two years old.  I remember it vividly. She was Ariel from The Little Mermaid (my absolute, all-time, favorite Disney movie).  Even though we only made it to a few houses on our street, watching her experience this night for the first time was a special moment for me.  

The one thing about Halloween that I’m not a huge fan of is the excessive amount of sugar and sweets that fill the children’s buckets and bags.  

Trick or Treating: It Doesn't Have to Be All About Candy

When a child sees a big bucket full of candy bars and sugary treats they, of course, are going to want to eat it.  And even if you limit them to one or two pieces at a time it’s still a lot.

Plus, let’s be honest, it’s very tempting not to grab a piece (or five) ourselves.  I’ll be the first to admit that I have a hard time resisting.  

So why does Halloween have to be all about candy?  

Well, it doesn’t!  

Maybe we could give our trick-or-treaters other special goodies instead.  

Here are some ideas for Halloween alternatives to candy:

  • crazy straws
  • pretzels
  • playful jewelry (i.e. spider rings, bead necklaces, crowns)
  • temporary tattoos
  • stickers
  • animal crackers
  • Goldfish crackers
  • trail mix
  • fun pencils
  • bouncy balls
  • finger puppets
  • mini boxes of raisins or craisins
  • mini notebooks
  • cereal bars/granola bars
  • puff corn (Pirate’s Booty)
  • glow sticks
  • mini Play-doh
  • bubbles
  • mini bottles of water
  • slap bracelets
  • dress up masks

So many of these items are appropriate and fun for kids of all ages, and you can purchase a lot of these items in bulk packages.  You could bag up some up these items in a Ziploc bag, and make them look like a ghost or a pumpkin by drawing a face on them.  Or you could put them in special Halloween baggies.

Of course, having some of those candy treats are obviously part of the fun and excitement of Halloween, but it’d be nice to see more things my kids could enjoy without me having to limit them or constantly tell them “No, you can’t have anymore.”  

And, I truly believe that they would have fun finding other items too!  

How do you all feel about this topic?  Do you have other ideas for alternatives to candy for Halloween night?


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Ashley is a ‘small town’ girl who moved to the ‘big city’ of Cedar Rapids after high school. A graduate of Coe College, Ashley is currently a kindergarten teacher and a true lover of yoga pants, cozy sweatshirts, chai tea lattes and cookie dough. Ashley and her husband, Mitch, first met each other back in middle school, dated when they were freshmen in high school, then reconnected one final time via Facebook back in 2006 shortly after Mitch returned from his first deployment. They've stood by their vows of ‘for better or worse,’ and as they approach their 10 year wedding anniversary, they aren’t afraid to admit that marriage isn’t easy. They welcomed their first child, Stella Grace Bass, in May of 2013 and their second child, Archer Mitchell Bass, in December of 2017!