As a mother, I approach Halloween every year with a sense of dread mixed with glee. Not only do I love candy, but the atmosphere of Halloween itself makes it my all-time favorite holiday out of the year. I even like it more than I like Christmas, and that’s saying a lot.
Passing out candy to trick-or-treaters or classroom parties is a typical and expected plan, as little ghouls and goblins outstretch their hands in anticipation of sweet, sugary goodness. Our parenting instincts cringe just a little as we relent and start planning out a way to make the massive stash of Halloween candy last so the cavities don’t invade.
And it’s not just cavities we have to worry about. Our nation’s childhood obesity statistics are higher than ever, which means we need to think more carefully about passing out goodies–even at Halloween.
If you’re searching for sweet solutions that won’t send the local zombies into a sugar frenzy, here are some alternatives that are healthier, but just as fun.
- Hit the local hobby shop and pick up packages of non-food, Halloween-themed goodies to hand out to trick-or-treaters, like pencils, erasers, bracelets, bubbles and other fun treats that don’t have to be eaten.
- Opt for pre-packaged, organic snacks like fruit leather, pretzels, popcorn, granola, nuts and dried fruits.
- Sugar-free gum! Even if you’re one of those parents who dread the idea of your child walking around chewing and chewing all day long, at least sugar-free packs of gum aren’t going to give them that dreaded sugar high or damage their teeth.
- Pass out pre-packaged toothbrushes to the trick or treaters. Check novelty and hobby shops for bulk bags of Halloween-themed toothbrushes that will encourage kids to brush after digging into their bags.
- Natural juice boxes come in convenient packages of six and eight, meaning you can buy a few packs and pass out juices, rather than candy.
- Apples are in season, and though a lot of kids might groan at the idea of plucking an apple out of the bowl you present them with, their parents will thank you.
- Tiny toys like matchbox cars and costume jewelry will get oohs and ahhs from kids. Just fill up the bowl and let them have their pick.
- Pre-packaged cheese sticks. Everyone loves cheese–well, mostly everyone–and picking up a few packs of pre-packaged cheese sticks gives kids a healthy alternative to candy.
With trick-or-treating playing such a huge role in the Halloween tradition, thinking outside the box and providing children with healthy, but fun alternatives to candy will put you high on both the parents and the kids lists.