Non Candy Alternatives for Trick or Treat

Halloween is a great time of the year, but for some it can be a dreaded occasion. According to FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education), 1 in every 13 children have a food allergy. And only eight foods account for 90 percent of all reactions: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish. Can you imagine being a child who has a life-threatening peanut allergy, walking up to a home where the neighbor doesn't know, looking down into a basket of treats, realizing that it is all Peanut Chews and Reese's? This is devastating to that child, and heart breaking to their mom.
  With all the food allergies out there, why don't we offer something different? Try giving out small toys for kids so that everyone can enjoy trick or treat.

So what can we do? Let’s offer an alternative to the norm of trick-or-treating. Let’s create a new expectation that every child can benefit from the treats of Halloween.

Why offer an alternative to the kids in your neighborhood? 

  • Food allergies are one reason. As you saw above, this accounts for a good number of our kids in today’s society. 
  • Excess sugar is another. We can offer healthier alternatives to the sugary chocolate bars and super sweet candies, but again, we don’t know about their food allergies. 
  • Less for you to eat after the holiday. Let’s be honest, you buy the candy that you love the most to hand out to the kids in your neighborhood. Then you have whatever is left PLUS the candy your kids bring home and either don’t want or you confiscate for yourself. Why put all that extra weight pressure on yourself? Just ditch the candy. 

What alternatives can you offer to the kids? 

I’m glad you asked. What about toys? Not big toys, but small treasures that kids will enjoy.

Some ideas for you include:
We have given out all of these, some together - some individually. For example, when we gave out tattoos, we also gave each child a bouncy ball. But each child only received a sticky hand.

Some questions and concerns I get when I talk about this topic: 

  • Where can I get ideas/toys for trick or treaters? Target in recent years has started to include a whole section, mainly geared toward teachers, with classroom packs of toys and little fun items. They usually come in packs of 8-10. Last year I saw bubbles! Oriental Trading always has large packs of toys and treasure items for kids. 
  • I get a lot of kids and I just don’t think it is affordable enough. Ok so here are some calculations that I have done - bare with me, it’s math. 
    • Candy Option - At our Target, a bag of 40 assorted candy bars (because we don’t want to be that ‘2 mini-tootsie roll’ family) costs $7.99. We will estimate that you will need 3 bags for 100 kids. Total cost $23.97.
      That comes to 24¢ per candy bar.(You get 120 candy bars so if you count them all it’s 20¢) 
    • Oriental Trading Toy Option - At Oriental Trading there are tons of options to choose from. The only thing you need to take into account is shipping costs (which makes it a bit more difficult). But my favorite for 100 kids is the Coffin Chest Toy Assortment. It has tons of stuff like clapping hands, sticky eyeballs, mazes and games. It is $13.98 + $6.99 shipping. Total Cost $20.79.
      That comes to 21¢ per toy.
      **FYI - Oriental Trading comes in even cheaper the higher in quantity you go. There is also free shipping on orders over $49 ** 
    • Amazon Toy Option - Amazon tends to be pricier for a lot of things. If you have Prime, you get free shipping. So getting 2 sets of 48 Glow in the Dark Bouncy Balls would be $10.96 ($5.48/each 2 dozen) and free shipping.
      That comes to 11¢ per ball. 
  •  What if the kids don’t like the toys I have? 
    • I suggest getting an assortment and letting them choose. They will find something they would enjoy. 
    • The only problem I really had were the kids in middle/high school. If you have a lot of them that come, it is up to you if you want to offer something else. If they didn’t want what I had, they didn’t need anything, but I always offered. (Our high schoolers loved the sticky hands - I can only imagine what they did with them) 
 Don’t forget - when you have extra candy, you need to eat it all. When you have extra toys, you can donate them to your child’s school, church programs or just give them away to your child’s friends as a treat.

And if all else fails, or you really want some candy, you can always have a bag hidden...just in case ;).

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  1. Offering an alternative it a great idea! We have some 500+ trick or treaters and I have to admit....we've stopped the treating!

    1. Wow! What a turnout! There would be some great pricing at that quantity!!!


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