It’s that time of year. Individual-sized candy fills up the aisles of your grocery store just as you’re trying to lose weight before the holidays hit. (And it’s the perfect time to do that, as we wrote about here.) All your favorite candy is now available in perfect bite-sized servings—that can’t be too harmful, right?
Then there’s this decision: If you’re expecting a lot of trick-or-treaters, do you pass out sugar-filled candy that isn’t good for them, or face disappointed looks when you offer something healthy instead? We’re going to suggest some treats that won’t disappoint!
Lastly, if you have your own kids trick-or-treating, what to do with all that candy they bring home? No child needs to eat a pillowcase full of candy over the next few weeks!
We have some suggestions for you, your kids, and the trick-or-treaters you’ll see. You really can make this a healthier Halloween without losing the fun of the holiday.
Healthy alternatives to candy for trick-or-treaters
In earlier times, people trying to offer healthy alternatives for trick-or-treaters would wrap up homemade popcorn balls or healthier baked cookies to give out, but those days are gone. Parents don’t want their kids having homemade treats from a stranger’s house anymore, and who can blame them?
But there are other, pre-packaged alternatives that kids like. Some of these have sugar as an ingredient but are still healthier than most sugary candy.
Edible treats to consider:
- Pretzel and snack cracker packets
- Juice boxes
- Mini water bottles (these may be the first thing opened, while still trick-or-treating!)
- Baked chips
- Popcorn packages
- Granola or cereal bars
- Dried fruit packets
- Sugar-free gum
- Apple cider packets
- Trail mix (avoid the ones with peanuts)
Besides the problem of giving out sugary candy when childhood obesity rates have skyrocketed, food allergies are also on the rise. More kids than ever are allergic to peanuts, food dyes, and other food allergens. But if they’re fun, non-food items can be a different and surprising treat for kids.
- Plastic spider rings
- Vampire teeth
- Glow sticks or bracelets
- Decorative pencils
- Waxed lips
- Mini play-dohs
- Bouncy balls
- Mini flashlights
- Fake mustaches
- Temporary tattoos
With all the candy the kids are already collecting, you might be surprised at the excitement they can have in getting something different.
What to do with all the candy your kids bring home
If your kids are trick-or-treating age, you know they can come home with a crazy amount of candy. While this is fun, it’s just not good for them to eat that much candy, so decide how much they can keep. (Some experts suggest around 20 pieces as the maximum.) Once you let your kids pick out their favorite pieces, you have some good options about what to do with the rest.
Several organizations send donated Halloween candy to our military troops serving overseas. They make great care packages from home for these far-away soldiers. One popular organization doing this is Operation Gratitude, who hosts a yearly Halloween candy drive. Find out how to participate here: https://www.operationgratitude.com/halloween-candy-give-back-program/.
Local places also take candy. Some area dentists will even buy the candy from you. They usually have a place where they donate the candy they collect as well. Give your dentist a call or google area dentists who participate in this type of program. You normally don’t need to be a patient to participate. Homeless shelters also usually welcome Halloween candy donations.
Also, some families enjoy a visit from the Switch Witch (or Candy Fairy). The Switch Witch comes when the kids are sleeping and after they’ve picked out their already-decided-upon number of treats to keep. The Switch Witch takes the rest of the candy and leaves a prize (or money) in return. Some parents give a dime for each piece of candy, some give a toy, some give a gift card to a store their child likes and takes them shopping for something they want later—whatever you want. The Switch Witch makes kids happy to give up their candy.
Try to give out some healthy or non-food items this year. But if you do decide to give out candy, don’t buy it until Halloween day. If you have candy sitting around, it’s too tempting to get into it. And to help even more with temptation, buy the kind you don’t like.
Most importantly, when Halloween is over, take your leftovers and your kid’s candy and donate it, give it away, or even throw it away. Just get rid of it. Remember that Halloween is October 31, and not the entire month!
You really can enjoy the fun of costumes and get-togethers on Halloween night while also avoiding too much candy. Outlaw FitCamp wishes you all a safe, fun, and healthy Halloween!