Halloween Candy Alternatives?

annie1971October 9, 2008

I would like to find an alternative to candy for trick-or-treaters. It seems to me that the kids get a whole lot of the same stuff and I would like to offer something else. My friend has been giving out cans of soda pop for years and the kids seem to love it. Does anyone have other suggestions?

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Fruit Snacks
Bags of Chips/pretzels/Fritos
Coupons for McDonalds
Coupons for donut shop or any local food shop
Money (quarters)
Rice Krispie treats (bought)

    Bookmark   October 10, 2008 at 12:08AM
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Tooth brushes...
And yes....kids get a lot of the sames tuff....but they love it!
When I was a kid, some people would give apples....but then some miscreant pit a razor blade in one and that's now not good!
Linda C

    Bookmark   October 10, 2008 at 12:34AM
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Kids do love getting the same stuff! In fact, my oldest kid who doubles as my DH, comes home after he has trooped our 4 children to as many houses as possible, and sorts everything. Then he and his brother have their annual phone call to see who "won" that year. Candy is assigned a point value, with the full sized candy bars getting the most points. The kids love it and it is really a fun part of their Halloween.

I love the idea for quarters, or even dimes and nickels. Kis love to put money in their piggy banks.


    Bookmark   October 10, 2008 at 9:04AM
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I just got back from the store and they had these miniature sized Play-Dohs to give out as Halloween treats. Granted, Play-Doh is probably more for the younger kids, but it's something different. It think there were 20 of them in a pack on sale for $2.50.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2008 at 12:05PM
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I give a lunch sized bag of pretzels, a pencil (fancy if I find them cheap, or regular yellow) and one of those whistles that look like a straw with ridges around it. The kids in our area doen't ever seem to tire of the same things....and it's fun to hear them go whistling off down the street!

    Bookmark   October 10, 2008 at 2:23PM
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I typically "theme" my handouts to go with the party we hold the weekend before (for adults). That way I can use "leftovers" from the party for the trick-or-treats. Last year was kind of a monster theme, since my party theme didn't work for candy, but they got monster hand suckers, and gummy body parts tied up in a bag.

This year's party is a pirate theme, so this year the trick-or-treaters will get a pirate cup with a few pieces of candy (bubblegum coins & fun-dips, which I admit I got so I could enjoy the leftovers), a pirate bookmark, pirate bouncy ball, and these little packs of crayons I found online, 24 for $3.99. I'll wrap it all up with plastic wrap (or spider webs, if I can make that work) and that will do it!

Check out places like Oriental Trading Co., and Miles Kimball, Current, etc. They normally sell lots of "non-candy" treats for the kiddos.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2008 at 3:48PM
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Please do not give my children any of that Oriental Trading mess, or Happy Meal type toys, or any of that stuff that I require them to throw away BEFORE they enter the house.


Pick a candy, or gum, or something good and give that out. So what if they get 10 bags of M&Ms. I know that people want to cut back on sugar and candy and stuff, but I hate that little plastic stuff and we get enough pencils, stickers and useless stuff in the school goody bag.

I do like the miniature cans of Halloween themed Jones Soda and the individual bags of Halloween popcorn, but in general the kids most like the candy even if I do give most of it away.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2008 at 7:19PM
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We live a ways from the main drag and normally, I get 5-10 trick-or-treaters. I give packs of gum ( I can use the leftovers), a few full sized candy bars for my favorite little next door neighbor goblins and I get a roll of quarters if there are any extra kids. The one year I gave out cans of Coke, I had empty cans all over my property. Never again. My son and DIL live in a neighborhood filled with kids, but these days they seldom get more than 50 T.or T.ers. I think lots of parents are celebrating the holidays in different ways and different venues rather than the neighborhood T. or T. Kind of sad.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2008 at 9:08PM
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I think kids WANT to get all candy! They try to get as much as they can, even if they don't want to eat it -- usually the best part is the trading. If the issue is nutrition, that's one thing, although it's only once a year, but I wouldn't look around for something else just to be "different."

When I was a kid, we rolled our eyes at the toothbrushes and pennies. The worst was the family that handed out nothing but religious tracts.

We liked the homemade cookies and rice krispie treats, though. I know everyone says never to give unwrapped food, homemade things, or fruit because of all the scares, but I wouldn't make it such a rule. Perhaps it depends on your neighborhood. Here, most people go with their kidz and see who is giving what. People eat other people's food at a potluck, a block party, a bake sale, etc. without worrying that their neighbors are trying to kill them; why is T&T so different?

Actually, it's not. Look at snopes.com -- you'll find out that poisoning of Halloween treats is an urban legend, and pins and the like in treats have occurred a very, very few times ever - she says about 80 reports since 1959, most hoaxes, and most of the rest kids fooling around, not deranged adults. That's WAY less than the number of kids hit by lightning. The real things that injure or kill kids on Halloween are cars, costumes, accidents, and fire.

I, too, am sad that the lazy media hype has ruined a lot of the fun of Halloween. Not to mention the trend to take all the scariness out of the day and make it just an adult-run daylight fun candy and costume festival. The scariness and the anarchy of a night when the children ruled the streets was what made it fun!

    Bookmark   October 11, 2008 at 1:24AM
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About home made treats....
Too well I remember...
The kids go house to house with a bag...our supermarket would put out special grocery bags in October with orange pumpkin printed on them.
So you have 3 places giving a candy bar, another giving a bag of assorted candies, another giving an apple another giving a popcorn abll wrapped in saran and anotehr with a couple of cookies tied up in a halloween napkin, another giving a decorated cupcake and still another with a mineature can of soda.
So the kids get home, I* give each a bowl and they dump their goodies in the bowl.
The cupcake has gotten muck all over everything and is an inedible mess, the cookie is smashed all over, the apple has done it's share of smashing other stuff and looks a little bruised, the can of pop landed on the mars bar, breaking the wrapper....so before they even begin they have to empty the grunge out of the bottom of the bag.
Unless you are going to pack them in a lidded plastic container, don't do cookie and other baked stuff.
Linda C

    Bookmark   October 11, 2008 at 1:34PM
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I remember that problem too, lindac -- that's why we always ate the cookies as we walked!

Remember popcorn balls?

There was one non-food item we did like, for some reason -- wax lips. Do they still make those?

    Bookmark   October 11, 2008 at 5:08PM
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I'm from So.Dak. It used to snow day after Halloween most yrs. That yr. it was snowing we lived at the Lake, I bundled up & dad & I went in car. All the neighbor's lights were on outside. Hot choc kept us warmed at couple of houses, popcorn balls were sent for whole family, 4 bro & mom at home, candy bars were sent too,on way back neighbor's were calling to be sure we made it to next stop & home. Most yrs I got to go into town to cousin's she was 3 yrs. older, we lived for the candy bars, went to all the houses we could until we couldn't hold our bags full. Mom sorted it out & we got piece of candy bar for dessert once or twice a week. Lasted a long time. In Ca. I walked my kids to neighbor's I knew, & still checked the stuff when we got home. Hospitals will xray it for free out here. There is often an incident out here in paper about candy usually with pins or something, so depends on where you live. GK's are allergic to nuts so DD has to sort out what they get down at beach with group of folks they go with every yr.,She changes each item they can't have for 1 she brings along. Things have certainly changed. I give 3 things, tootsie pop, snack candy bar & sweet tarts or something like it.(some kids come back so I just give them 2nds.)Only about 20 kids now, used to be about 90.I also decorate some in windows & outside as our kids in US are losing their heritage!!Holidays kept me going when I was a kid with sick mom. Our kids need fun! Jan

    Bookmark   October 12, 2008 at 12:36AM
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lindac, your description makes me wonder why it was so much fun, yet it was.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2008 at 11:03AM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

It always annoyed me when I was given something other than candy! One house always gave out hot chocolate so we could drink it and I guess that was ok but it cut into my time and we were moving fast!
I say give them what they want. I don't think Halloween is the cause of obesity in kids anyway. We would cover two subdivisions, mine and the one next to us and walk miles (it seemed like it anyway!)and I could make my candy last for months.
One memorable Halloween was when my Dad snuck into my room while I was sleeping and ate the only Reese's peanut butter cup I got. I noticed! We still laugh about that now.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2008 at 11:00AM
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I live in a small town.... I am known as the Popcorn ball house... I make them every year... even the adults asks for them.... I have parents every year ask before Halloween if I am going to make them.... they get more excited then the kids....
this year I wont be home... Varsity football game that night... so I have told everyone I will have them with me at the game... the kids still have to tell me "trick or treat".... adults too.....lol

    Bookmark   October 13, 2008 at 2:29PM
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oh I also wanted to say that when my children were small... they would come home and dump all their candy in the middle of the floor in the living room... we would sort out the candy put into baggies.. they would put what they wanted in one baggie... it wasn't about the candy its was just the fun of going tricker treating... and to see who was the bravest to go to the door of the scary houses... we would end up giving most of the candy away... to friends... they only wanted a little... they weren't big into candy anyway...
Amy, I like the point value idea... I will have to remember that when my grandkids start tricker treating...

    Bookmark   October 14, 2008 at 4:12PM
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bumblebeez, your story about the peanut butter cup made me laugh!

It seems like parents all have their favorite candy to which they are entitled "off the top."

My daughter, now 19, told me recently that she realized with surprise that Almond Joys are delicious. She had always assumed that the reason I always ate any Almond Joys she got at Halloween was that she didn't like them.

I wonder if her brother has figured it out ....

    Bookmark   October 14, 2008 at 5:36PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Sheesh, you folks obviously don't have the hoards that come through our neighborhood every year. They're like a plague of locusts! Robert and I literally get panicked when we begin to see the cars lining up on the street. "Here they come, get ready!" We both stand at the door, because one year I was nearly knocked down by the pushing, grabbing kids.

It's not even remotely enjoyable for us, which is sad, because I always used to look forward to Halloween. I'd love to just turn off the lights and pull the shades for the evening.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2008 at 4:53PM
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I've enjoyed your stories and suggestions. Rhizo, I agree with you -- it's like a plague of locusts hitting us -- with the SUV's lined up out front coming from who knows where! Sometimes the "kids" look old enough to vote! My regret is that there isn't a good prediction of necessary quantity. Some years we have a hundred or more and run out; other years we get so few that we're left with a bunch of candy that I don't want!
Here's a story though that makes opening that door to the little ones worthwhile: One Halloweed the doorbell rang; I opened the door to a little one (about 2 years or so) who said nothing -- just stood and stared at me. His dad was standing back in the shadows, otherwise the little boy was all alone. I said, "Is it trick or treat? Is that why you're standing on my porch looking like that?" The little boy said nothing, but the father stepped forward with a smile and said "sometimes he gets it and sometimes he doesn't." I gave the little boy some candy and the father started asking about my decorations and how I made them. As we were talking, I could tell the little boy was anxious to get on to more trick or treating. Finally he stepped forward and waved his hand in a sort of solute and said, "Well, Merry Christmas!" and turned and marched on. I said "and Merry Christmas to you too!" His dad rolled his eyes as if to say "like I said, sometimes he gets it and sometimes he doesn't." When I closed the door, my husband said "did I hear you wish someone a Merry Christmas", as if I had completely lost my senses! We laugh about that sweet little boy and re-tell the story often.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2008 at 10:07PM
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Why would you give McDonald's coupons and coupons to doughnut shops to kids? Might as well give them a bag of lard. Haha! Sorry not trying to be rude but I would rather give my kids a little candy then a happy meal.
How about granola bars or those 100 calorie packs? I know it's not as fun but at least it's something!

    Bookmark   October 23, 2008 at 10:28AM
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You don't look rude, you just look like you didn't read the question.

The poster didn't ask for healthy foods (she even mentioned giving out soda). I think she was looking for different ideas. Some people use coupons like that so that the kids don't eat all of the junk in one night and get a special treat later. Of course, I let my kids go to McDonalds and eat an occasional donut -- They're kids. Sorry if you don't allow it. My neighbor gave the kids McDonalds coupons for Halloween one year and they loved them. And, the favorite Valentine Card of the kids in my son's class didn't have candy attached, it was a coupon for a free Krispy Kreme donut; that's why I mentioned the ideas. I'm sure someone may enjoy your healthy alternative and may decide to give out granola bars, but I don't know why you felt to need to knock my ideas. Halloween generally is about healthy eating. Live a little. And, next time I suggest you try reading the post before you "try not to be rude".

    Bookmark   October 23, 2008 at 11:24AM
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Well where we are no one allows there kids to eat anything that is "homemade" do to the fact that you just dont know if someone did something to it (sad but true) my kids love to get candy all shapes and sizes also $$ is also welcomed in the form of coins or singles. I just go with the 6lb bag of mixed candy as a matter of fact I just bought it yesterday at BJ's

    Bookmark   October 24, 2008 at 9:02AM
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It really depends on the number of kids you get. We live in a 100+ kids area. We could probably get 200+ if the weather is moderate, so economics is part of the decision. We run out ever year. Its a little late to order stuff now, but you can buy unique candy online like mini "pop rocks". One of the things I remember as a kid was getting mini decks of playing cards, I've seen them online for $3.75 a dozen. I like the whistle idea too, another idea would be the mini yo-yos.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2008 at 1:03PM
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