Let me be the first to say that I love candy. Kit-Kats, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Hershey Bars — chocolate fills the cracks in the soul. And let’s not forget Swedish Fish, Sweet Tarts, and Sour Patch Kids — I don’t discriminate in my sugar fixes. I love all candy equally. I love candy as much as I love uninterrupted bathroom time, a leisurely trip to Target and that first sip of a margarita on a girl’s night…wait, scratch that last one. Tequila > Candy.
However, after multiple Halloween events, a few bouts of Trick-or-Treating, a classroom party and a care package from family in another state, we are left with more candy than we can handle. We inevitably end up throwing some out (GASP) because our son has OD’ed on sugary treats and we notice that our pants are fitting a little tight after taking our “parent tax” (which is totally a thing, by the way).
Our son is lucky to not have any food allergies, but there are many children who do not even get to trick-or-treat because they cannot enjoy any of the goodies that they receive. Between the Great Sugar Overdose of 2016 and realizing that all children should enjoy Halloween festivities, this list was born. I sent out an SOS to my village via Facebook as to what treats people have given out or received that were NOT CANDY.
Though a few cried foul, the majority of the answers were very useful and thoughtful. A big shout-out to those who helped me create this list, though I know it’s not all-inclusive.
31 Treats to Hand Out this Halloween that ARE NOT Candy
Glowsticks – These light-up accessories complement any costume and help provide a little safety while collecting goodies!
Stampers – Fun for all ages, but beware that these do not just stamp on skin and paper!
Tattoos – My kiddo loves temporary tattoos because he gets to act like his mom and dad!
Pencils – This may seem boring but all kids use pencils at school and they could make homework time just a bit more fun!
Erasers – This is the same as pencils but it takes the sting out of making mistakes!
Mini-Notepads – If your kiddo is anything like mine, you have a ton of notebooks lying around with doodles and stories!
Finger Flashlights – These are another fun way to light dark trick-or-treat paths!
Freezie Pops – Also known as Ice Pops or Otter Pops, these are a perfect way to give kids a bit of summer in the fall!
Stickers – These don’t have to be Halloween-themed either – think of all of the options!
Bubbles – What child doesn’t love bubbles?!?
Playdoh – This is a classic sure to help spark creativity in your little goblin!
Hot Chocolate/Apple Cider Packets – The colder weather will either be here or on its way, so help warm up the trick-or-treaters!
Goldfish/Teddy Graham/Pretzel Single Serve Bags – These are much better to throw in lunch boxes than candy, if they make it that long!
Bags of (Unpopped) Microwave Popcorn – Help to provide the concessions for an in-home movie night!
Bags of Chips – A little bit of salt proves that not all treats have to be sweet!
Juice Boxes/Pouches – Even princesses and superheroes need to wet their whistles on their merry way!
Water Flavor Packets – With fall sports aplenty, giving these out helps to keep the kids hydrated!
Fruit Snacks – So many flavors and characters to choose from!
Applesauce – There are cups and pouches for even the tiniest trick-or-treaters to enjoy!
Coupons for Treats – McDonald’s often has coupons available for purchase to hand out for ice cream or apple slices!
Granola Bars – These are a surefire way to keep your kiddos from being hangry after school!
Rubber Bracelets – A classic wardrobe accessory that will last much longer than a gumball!
Vampire Teeth – Whether or not Dracula is at your door, vampire teeth are a fun accessory for all in costume!
Spider Rings – Please be warned that not all kids think these are cool, as my son would run from you screaming if he saw these!
Bouncy Balls – If your child has never asked you for one of these in a quarter machine, consider yourself one of the lucky ones!
Mazes – Remember that you can throw these in your purse to help distract your child(ren) when they’re antsy!
Books – If your child has outgrown his or her books, this could provide a neat way to get rid of the books without a lot of hassle!
Bookmarks – You can’t have books without bookmarks!
Polaroids – This was one that I’ve never heard of, but it’s a great way to give kiddos a memento and to have some fun!
Trading Cards – If you have a lot of cards lying around or love trading cards, this is a cool alternative that could leave kids interacting with each other…did someone say Pokemon?!?
Coins – This was definitely a controversial choice as some did not like the idea of pennies, but a penny saved is a penny earned!
Whew! What a list! The best part is that most of these are available where you’d get your Halloween candy!
If you do choose one of these non-candy treats, please consider decorating a pumpkin teal and putting it on your doorstep. The Teal Pumpkin Project helps raise awareness of food allergies and promotes inclusion of all trick-or-treaters throughout the Halloween season.
If you do get an influx of candy, don’t throw it out! Our good friends at the Ronald McDonald House also accept donations of candy for the families being served who cannot go out and trick-or-treat themselves. Also check with local dentists, who will often buy the candy from you and donate it to our troops.
No matter what you decide to hand out this Halloween season, have a happy one!
Is there anything not on the list that should be? Do you know of any local organizations that “buy back” candy or take donations?