What comes to mind when we think about Halloween? For many of us it’s about costumes, pillowcases filled with candy, crisp fall air, hours of sorting and then eating your candies. Follow this up with the inevitable stomach ache from eating too many of them!
As adults most of us know, or are at least are aware, of the harmful ingredients in mainstream candies, chocolate bars, and other sugary goodies. High fructose corn syrup and tartrazine have been shown to contribute to health issues like: diabetes, obesity, ADD, ADHD, not to mention they require the liver to work extra hard to filter out the toxic residue. In addition, too much simple sugar in one’s diet is not good either and has been shown to contribute to many of the chronic inflammatory diseases sadly currently affecting the health of most North Americans today.
Having said that, 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 sadly, in today’s world anything that is homemade or handed out may not be trusted as safe nor healthy.
Kids and grown ups alike have been having fun putting on costumes and going out to visit friends and family or going out in the streets showing off their outfits and soaking in the different experiences from knocking on doors of houses who took time to decorate and well you understand, it can be fun! So how could we still enjoy the experience without the sugar overload? Here is a list of healthier alternatives to mainstream candy.
9 Fun Alternatives to 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. Let’s hope 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 juice boxes with real juice: available at Costco in large quantities. 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! You may be surprised how the younger kids get excited about this handout. 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 and crayons: If you are ok with having two different bowls, and maybe a third bowl for older kids (maple syrup candies!) then this could be a fun option. Let kids choose the bowl they would prefer. 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, Walmart 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 secretly be saying thank you!