Let’s get straight to the point. Finding a Halloween candy alternative that has all the fun without the regret is not the easiest task to take on. Especially when it comes to finding something Trick-or-Treaters actually will enjoy and not go straight into the wastebasket.
After all, what kid is going to prefer a pencil to a candy bar? That’s just crazy talk.
Luckily, there are companies taking more notice of what people are looking for and providing healthier alternatives to sweets and treats.
But before getting into some candy alternatives, here is a little history about Halloween, and how this holiday developed to what it is now.
History of Halloween
Halloween originated from the Celtic festival of Samhain, where people would light bonfires and wear costumes so they could ward off ghosts. Pretty spooky, I know.
In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III made November 1 the day to honor all saints, and soon incorporated some of the traditions of the Celtic festival of Samhain. The evening before Halloween became known as All Hallows Eve, and was later changed to Halloween.
Over time, Halloween became established as more of a holiday that was focused on community and neighborly get-togethers rather than ghosts, pranks, and witchcraft. Instead, traditions like trick-or-treating, carving jack-o-lanterns, wearing costumes, and eating treats became the staples of the holiday.
Newspapers and leaders in the community started to encourage people to take anything frightening out of their Halloween celebrations, causing Halloween to lose a majority of the religious and superstitious aspects that were once part of this day.
Halloween Candy Facts
Halloween and candy seemingly go together like peanut butter and jelly.
In fact, we spend over $2 billion each year on candy for Halloween in the United States. That’s right, billion. Which also equates to around 200 million pounds of candy. This, however, was not always the case until confectioners started to push their products more around this time of year in order to boost their fall sales.
Candy has been an ideal treat to give away to trick-or-treaters because of its convenience to hand out and carry around, and its affordability. It is also interesting to note that the big candy companies will engineer their products to make them irresistible and addictive to its consumers.
There aren’t many scientific studies based on Halloween candy out there, but retail and other industry reports suggest the average trick-or-treater will take in around three cups of sugar and around 7,000 calories of candy on Halloween. That all equals out to 675 grams of sugar, which is equivalent of eating 169 sugar cubes.
Why People are Choosing Candy Alternatives
We are now in a time where sugar is in just about everything we buy (seriously, check the ingredients label sometime).
In the year 1977, the average adult received 228 of their daily calories from sugars in the food and drinks they consumed. That number climbed to 300 calories per day for adults in the year 2010, and added sugar consumption among kids has also risen dramatically, as it increased 20 percent among kids during that same time.
Because sugar is so much more common now than ever before, health experts are considering it a public health hazard, as it has been linked to obesity, tooth decay, and diabetes. A little scary? Of course, but that is why it is important to know these things.
Another popular reason for people choosing a candy alternative is having more to offer for kids with allergies. The Teal Pumpkin Project is a project put on by Food Allergy Research & Education and is meant to help encourage households to offer trick-or-treaters alternatives that everyone is able to enjoy.
The idea of this project is to place a teal-coloured pumpkin on your porch, which signals to trick-or-treaters that you have non-food related Halloween treats available for them.
Halloween Candy Alternatives
Now, the moment you’ve been waiting for. Here are some examples of treats to give out that will give your trick-or-treaters all the fun, without the regret.
- Mini Playdough – What kid doesn’t like playdough? This is a great giveaway that kids will enjoy.
- Hacky Sacks – This a fun one to promote activity for kids, and is something they can do with their friends. Amazon has these for about a dollar a piece.
- Halloween Themed Stamps – These stamps come in different varieties like ghosts, vampires, and zombies.
- Mini playing cards – These are great for kids to pack along for a quick fix in entertainment.
- Pumpkin Oranges – These are a fun and healthy alternative to candy, plus, kids love them.
- Mini Fidget Spinners – These are a fun giveaway that is still pretty popular among kids.
- Bouncy Balls – Give a kid a bouncy ball and they will be entertained for hours.
- Wikki Sticks – These are small bendable wax pieces that have a stickable surface and allow you to mold them together.
- Mini Flashlights – Mini flashlights are a great handout that will keep the kids well lit throughout the night.
- Glow Sticks – This is another option to keep kids safer, as they can wear them around their wrist and be seen in the night.
- Punch Balloons – Punch balloons are balloons on a string and you punch it. Sounds simple, but it’s actually pretty entertaining.
- Halloween Rubber Ducks – This is a fun one that not many others have.
- Glider Airplanes – Actually cheaper than you would think, and a very fun alternative kids will enjoy.
- Halloween Finger Puppets – These make for a great gift on Halloween and will give the kids the chance to use their imagination and put on a little show.
- Glow in the Dark Vampire Teeth – This is a classic Halloween staple every kid should have at some point.
- Halloween Themed Tattoos – A fun way for them to be festive.
- Jelly Spike Yoyo Balls – They are like little yo yo’s that glow in the dark with a light inside.
- Halloween Stickers – They can stick them on pumpkins or Halloween art they do.
- Halloween Crayons – This makes for a great gift, especially for a child with allergies.
- Glow in the Dark Slime – Parents might not be the biggest fan, but glow in the dark slime is sure to be a hit with the kids.
- Mini Slinkies – Mini slinkies are a great candy alternative, especially for the younger kids.
- Halloween Themed Spider Rings – These are a great value so you don’t have to worry about breaking the bank when shopping for alternatives to candy.
- Mini Notepads – These come in handy for kids who like to draw, or to have for a fun way of taking notes during school.
- Slap Bracelets – Younger kids really get a kick out of these, so it would be a great treat for them to dig out of their Halloween bag.
- Halloween Bubbles – Bubbles are fun from ages 1 – 100. You can never really get sick of bubbles. Here are some Jack-o-Lantern pumpkin bubbles.
- Mini Bottles of Water – These are perfect for a little pick me up on Halloween when kids are hot in their costumes, they can hydrate with a nice refreshing bottle of water.
- Apple Cider Packets – This is perfect on a cool Halloween night to head home and warm up with.
- Toothbrush and Floss – Definitely not a bad way to remind kids to take care of their teeth with all the sugar they’ll be taking in.
- Mini Coloring Books – A fun way to keep kids entertained for a few hours, as opposed to a few seconds with the piece of candy.
- Mini Water Squirt Guns – What a good way to change it up and give them some variety.
- Halloween Themed Glasses – This is a fun way for them to maybe add to their costume, or wear around school on a themed Halloween dress-up day.
You will be able to find a lot of these Halloween candy alternatives on Amazon, and may actually be able to score on some great deals at a dollar store.
Hopefully this gives you a few options to choose from, and maybe helps spread this decision to more homes around your neighborhood in the coming years.
Just because it’s not candy doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. Stay safe and look both ways when crossing the street, be sure to brush and floss your teeth (especially if you’re eating a lot of candy), and have a Happy Halloween!
In case you do end up eating too much candy, schedule a visit to Wayzata Dental. We’ll get your teeth back to health and have them looking pearly white.