Holidays like Halloween can mean a lot of candy.  My daughter also has an October birthday, which is a popular birthday month.  So between birthdays, Halloween parties, and trick-or-treating, we are overwhelmed with the amount of candy that ends up in our house.  Not only do I try to limit the amount of sweets my kids eat, my daughter has a peanut allergy, so we are selective about candy.

I also try to limit the amount of ‘plastic junk’ that goes into goody bags.  As cute as some of the stuff is, my kids end up with junk drawers full of things like plastic bracelets, and I try to pick things that are more environmentally friendly and useful.  I like to give the kids stuff they can use (like craft items).

Also if you are looking to get rid of all the candy you have accumulated, check to see if there are events around your town for the kids to trade in their candy.  Last year we traded in our candy to support our troops.

Here are some ideas for alternatives to candy, for anything from birthday favors to Halloween party favors and even for trick-or-treaters.  Obviously some situations are easier for giving non-candy treats, such as goody bags at Halloween parties, versus giving to trick-or-treaters.

Candy-free Halloween treats:

  • Our favorite, kid-approved treat: mini gourds/mini pumpkins – you can often buy big bags of these, and they have always been a hit with the kids!  They are cute, last a long time, and the kids can even decorate them with things like stickers, Sharpies, and more.
  • Arts & crafts items – crayons, markers, pencils, pens, stickers, mini notepads.  You can often find school supplies on deep discount this time of year, which is perfect timing!  I found cute little notebooks at the store marked down to 25 cents each, and they made perfect goody bag favors!
  • Chapstick
  • Mini bubbles
  • Mini Play-doh containers
  • Stickers –  cut or tear apart sheets of stickers if needed
  • Coins
  • Erasers (you can usually find packages of Halloween theme erasers) and pencils
  • Hair ties, barrettes
  • Stamps – small, self-inking rubber stamps.  You can often find these for very cheap at a craft store, or buy in bulk and save extras for future parties.
  • Tattoos
  • Mini figures (such as small plastic animals)
  • Mini nail polishes
  • Silly putty
  • Socks (e.g. cute Halloween socks from the $1 bin at Target)
  • Grow caps – the little capsules that you put in water and watch grow
  • Coupons (e.g. free slice of pizza, free ice cream cone)
  • Mini bags of popcorn, pretzels, Pirate’s Booty, goldfish, etc.
  • Snacks (we like Annie’s Homegrown, Clif Kids, etc.)

Happy Halloween!