I began giving out sugar-free Halloween treats the year that my oldest child first went out trick-or-treating.
I had no problem with my little kiddo dressed in her clown costume and yarn wig, collecting candy from other people’s houses- one of the life lessons that I try to teach is that everyone does things differently, and that it’s okay to join in. But as for ourselves, we’re a candy-free house, and I also wanted to model that you can be festive without giving in.
A lot of what I tried to give out at first, however, really wasn’t any more healthy overall than the usual sugary treats. Fun-sized PlayDoh was a huge hit, but each little container contained as much plastic packaging as it did play dough. NOT the way to the clean and green planet that my kids need to inherit. The foam stickers that I gave out another year were just as bad, and the trick-or-treaters didn’t even like them that much.
Another kid and a few more Halloweens later, I’ve collected a variety of Halloween treats that are just as cheap and bring just as much joy to trick-or-treaters as candy does, and they’re much more eco-friendly, as well. Here are the treats that I’ll be handing out to the neighborhood kids this Halloween night:
- Pennies. Preschoolers are old enough to know that money is great, but too young to understand the value of money. For them especially, a few pennies tossed into their trick-or-treat bags are a true treasure.
- Pencils. I’m not talking about your standard #2 here, but if the pencil has something really, really cool on it, older kids will love it.
- Apples. Teeny-tiny kiddos want to go trick-or-treating just like their older siblings, but their parents would probably rather that they didn’t max out on candy, and they’re too little to know the difference, anyway. An apple to cut up and enjoy is tummy-pleasing, and this time of year it’s easy to find plenty that are local and affordable.
- Books. Raid your kids’ shelves for outgrown books, or raid the local thrift store. You would be surprised by how many trick-or-treaters are flat-out thrilled to pick their own book out of my Halloween book basket, filled with everything from thrift store picture books to garage sale Sweet Valley High novels.
One thing that’s saved me from being the sucky mom who doesn’t give out candy is variety. I don’t just have pennies or pencils or apples or books. I have them all, and I either pick what I think a particular kiddo would like the most, or I give a kiddo a choice. I swear, they always end up with something that they like even better than yet another fun-sized Snickers bar.
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