This past weekend, my husband and I, both baby boomers, watched the movie Hocus Pocus with our grandchildren—lots of fun! Yep, we’re all getting ready for Halloween around here, and part of that tradition is buying the treats to give away. But for the past 10 years, we’ve gone over to our daughter’s house to walk around the neighborhood with her kids, so we don’t buy candy since we’re never home on Halloween night.
But for those of you who have little trick-or-treaters knocking on your door on October 31, rather than handing out candy, here are some alternative ideas from the American Heart Association:
Healthy food items
- Clementines, blood oranges, or oranges decorated like Jack-O-Lanterns (with non-toxic ink)
- 100% juice boxes or pouches
- Snack-sized packages of pretzels, popcorn, graham crackers, dried fruit or vegetables, trail mix, nuts, or pumpkin seeds
- 100% real fruit strips, ropes or leathers
- Squeezable yogurt tubes or pouches
- Single-serving containers of mandarin oranges
- Sugar-free gum
- Glow sticks or small glow-in-the-dark toys
- Bouncy balls
- Mini plush toys and wind-up toys
- Crayons and coloring books (or intricate coloring pages for older kids)
- Stickers or stamps
- Temporary tattoos
- Bubble makers
- Spider rings or vampire teeth
- Slime, putty or squishy toys
- Friendship bracelets
Be careful to avoid giving very small items that could be a choking hazard to little ones.
And I love these suggestions for ways to utilize your leftover candy.
What to Do with Excess Candy
- Let each child keep enough candy to have one or two pieces a day for one or two weeks (long enough for the excitement to wane). Throw away, donate or re-purpose the rest.
- When your child asks for a piece of candy, pair it with a healthy snack: an apple, a banana, some nuts, or celery with peanut butter.
- “Buy back” candy from your child with money or tokens they can trade in for a fun activity: a day at the zoo, an afternoon playing at the park, going ice skating, or a day at the pool.
- Some dentists’ offices have buy-back or trade-in programs, too.
- Save it for holiday baking.
- Save it to fill the piñata at the next birthday celebration or give out with Valentine cards.
- Use it in an arts and crafts project or to decorate a holiday gingerbread house.
- Donate excess candy to a homeless shelter, children’s hospital, or care package program for troops overseas. A familiar sweet treat from home can be comforting at the holidays.
For more ideas to stay healthy this holiday season, reach out to me.