Have a Healthy Halloween: Trick-or-Treating and Candy Alternatives and Candy Trade-In Ideas
Mamas of little ones are often at a loss on Halloween – we want them to have fun and celebrate, but we don’t want them to ingest a bunch of HFCS and artificial flavors/colors that will affect their sleep and moods for days, nor do we want to support corporations who violate human rights, destroy the environment, and use harmful marketing tactics to discourage mothers from breastfeeding.
Instead of encouraging excess and sugar highs, here are a few alternatives I’ve found to celebrate Halloween.
Be sure to check out more ideas on my Healthy Halloween Fun Pinterest board!
7 Trick-or-Treating Alternatives
If you would rather not tempt your little ones with candy, try one of these alternatives to traditional trick-or-treating.1
- Trick-or-Treat Known Houses: Ask several relatives, friends, and/or neighbors to have non-candy items available (or give your destinations the “treats” ahead of time if you don’t want to ask).
- Start a Family Fall Tradition: Instead of focusing outward, use Halloween as a time to have fun at home. Start a tradition of baking, decorating, and playing games with family (and friends) on Halloween night. Find a hayrack ride and go dressed up. If you do movies, make it a special night that you go out for a movie with the family, then come home to apple cider and pumpkin cookies. Whatever fits your family, make it a night to look forward to!
- Scavenger Hunt: Grab a group of friends and do a scavenger hunt for canned food instead of trick-or-treating. As the kids/groups return with their items, trade the items for healthy and/or non-food prizes, then let the kids help you bring your scavenger hunt items to a food bank to donate.
- Attend a Community Event: Many communities have Halloween events that run from the very tame (fall themed) to the slightly scary (a kids’ haunted house). See if your local museums, zoo, or other family-friendly venue is hosting something fun.
- Host a Costume Party: Have a few friends over to play games, eat healthy snacks, and stage a costume parade. There’s no need to spend a lot of money – everyone can bring a healthy treat, you can make decorations as one of your activities, and people can take the decorations home at the end. There are several easy Halloween craft and healthy snack ideas on my Healthy Halloween Fun Pinterest board.
- Visit an Orchard, Pumpkin Patch, or Corn Maze: Here is a great excuse to support a local farmer. Plan a visit and enjoy the beauty and bounty of fall harvests.
- Build a Campfire: What’s spookier than scary stories over a campfire?! Tell stories, sing songs, and roast hot dogs and marshmallows beside a campfire. What a great way to celebrate Halloween! If you need scary story inspiration, check out some of these Halloween titles from Amazon.
15 Candy Alternatives
Here are several alternatives to candy that you can use as treats for your own children and for the little ones who stop by your house on Halloween. Also check out the ideas presented by Boo Nestle.
- Fruit leather
- Temporary tattoos
- Small packs of cards or other games
- Crayons, pencils, erasers, etc.
- Individual packages of healthier snacks (crackers, pretzels, dried fruit)
- Glow in the dark bracelets
- Glow in the dark anything! Stickers, sticks, stars, etc.
- Small toys: bouncy balls, eggs with silly putty or playdough, toy rings, etc.
- Seed packets (for flowers, vegetables, etc.)
- Fruit (maybe not for trick-or-treaters, but for your own little ones)
- Whistles or other small musical toys
- Cookie cutters
4 Candy Trade-In Ideas
If you do decide to do more traditional trick-or-treating, but you don’t want to have 10 lbs of candy sitting around the house, try one of these “trade-in” ideas.
- Money for Candy: Buy back the candy for cash: make each piece of candy worth some set amount (a nickle, dime, quarter, etc.). Ask you kids to choose some candy to keep for themselves, and you will buy the rest back from them. They may decide to sell more back once they realize that they can use the money for better things!
- Toys for Candy: Instead of buying back candy with money, have a selection of books and other fun things for your little ones to trade in for. And make sure that the little ones get a say in how much to trade – you want to make it fun for them! You may also want to just take kids to the store and give them a dollar limit so they can pick out their own toys.
- Candy Experiments: Use your candy for cool science experiments. Avoid the sugar and learn something at the same time! Here’s another article about candy experiments from Mothering.
- Candy for Coupons: Create coupons your kids can get in trade for their candy. Include things like baking healthy snacks together, or letting your child choose a family movie to watch or game to play.
What will your family do for Halloween this year?
This has been edited from a post previously published at Natural Parents Network.
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"Have a Healthy Halloween: Trick-or-Treating and Candy Alternatives and Candy Trade-In Ideas"
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