Whenever I think of Halloween I think of costumes, pillowcases filled with candy, crisp fall air and the inevitable next-day stomach ache.

As adults most of us know or are at least aware of the harmful ingredients in mainstream candies, chocolate bars, and other Halloween goodies. High fructose corn syrup and tartrazine can be contributors to type II diabetes, obesity, ADD, ADHD, not to mention they require the liver to work extra hard to filter out the toxic residue.

Let me be clear, one or two treats isn’t the end of the world–what’s problematic is the pillowcase full.  I’m sure there was a time when homemade goodies were handed out or when packaged treats contained decent ingredients, but today anything that is homemade or handed out can’t be trusted as safe or healthy.

As someone who cares about the health of our children, I wanted to come up with a list of healthier alternatives to mainstream candy. Here it is…

9 Fun Alternatives to Traditional Halloween Candy

I have compiled a list of  fun alternatives to handing out traditional Halloween candy. Most of these suggestions are geared towards a younger crowd of trick-or-treaters, 12 years of age and under I would say. My hope is that there will be something on this list that you have not thought of before, or that it will inspire some other ideas for yourself and others!

  • Halloween stickers: Great for kids to decorate or do activities with. Available at most dollar stores
  • Halloween pencils: Kids can use them at home or at school. Available at most dollar stores.
  • Mini water bottles or juice boxes with real juice: available at Costco in large quantity. Kids can rehydrate while trick-or-treating!
  • Maple syrup candies: It may be sugar, but it’s a naturally sourced sugar and does not contain toxic chemicals. Available at bulk barn.
  • Mini Cocoa Camino dark chocolates: This fair trade company has nothing but good ingredients in their chocolate. Available in small bags at most health food stores.
  • Lara Bars: A delicious, high protein, sweet bar made from dates and other healthy ingredients. Available at Costco in a larger quantity. I will note that this option is slightly more expensive, so if you’re a household that gets a lot of trick-or-treaters it may not be the best choice!
  • Tooth brushes: Now I know what you are thinking! What kid will want a toothbrush! My experience is that usually, the younger kids get excited about this handout and not so much the older ones. I guarantee the older ones will end up using them at some point though! The dollar store is the best place to get large quantities of toothbrushes.
  • Glow sticks: Most kids just think these are plain awesome! What would be more fun than trick-or-treating with a glow stick? Available at the dollar store.
  • Hair bows/elastics for girls and crayons for boys: If you are ok with having two different bowls, one for boys and girls, and maybe a third bowl for older kids (maple syrup candies!) then this could be a fun option. Available at the dollar store for cheapest prices!

More people are starting to look for alternatives to traditional Halloween candy, especially those who are more aware of ingredients and concerned about what their children eat. When searching for alternatives you want to make sure the goodies will be enjoyed but are cost-effective for you too! There are tons of organic candy and chocolate companies but to buy large quantities of these would cost a lot more and not everyone is able or willing to do that. This is why most of the items listed are available at the dollar store or at Costco!

So what changes could you make this year to what you typically hand out on Halloween night? Whatever the alternative choice is for you this year, know that children will have at least one healthier item in their candy bags and that parents will be saying thank you!