With Halloween just around the corner, many of us instinctively stock up on candy to hand out to all the delightful ghouls and frightful vampires that will soon be knocking on our door. But in recent years, we hear more and more that these sugar-laden treats are not ideal for our children’s well-being. If you are looking for healthier alternatives to hand out than the usual fare, here are some great ideas to surprise and satisfy the kids this Halloween.
Be mindful of potential allergens like nuts and peanuts. When buying packaged foods, look for those low in sweeteners and sodium.
- Boxes of raisins
- Small bags of dried apples, bananas, dates, or figs (bulk food stores are your friend!)
- Small bags of baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, grapes, or other small fresh fruit and veg
- Small bags of pumpkin seeds or other seeds
- Trail mix (ideally nut and peanut free)
- Bags of apple chips
- Single-serve applesauce
- Single-serve oatmeal packets
- Seaweed crisps
- Granola bars (try lower-sugar varieties like Kind and Kashi)
- Single-serving cheese
- Apples, bosc pears (they’re sturdier than other pears), clementines, or any other small, firm fruits that won’t get squished
- Happy Tot Chick Pea Straws (they have other products but some are high in added sugar)
- Mini boxes of healthy cereals (ideally whole grain, low sugar)
- Mini water bottles or reduced-sugar juice boxes (such as PC Blue Menu brand varieties)
Toys and other ideas
Be careful not to hand out toys with small parts to small children, which may pose a choking hazard.
- Small packs of arts & craft materials e.g. beads, charms, bracelet materials, popsicle sticks, wikki stix, or mini lego packs
- Playful pens, pencils, erasers, mini notebooks, or sidewalk chalk
- Bouncy balls, bubbles, carabiners, or snap bands
- Printouts of games, mazes, origami, brain teasers, etc.
- Printouts of jokes, funny sayings, favourite recipes, and so on
- Glow-sticks or mini flashlights
- Stress balls, slime, play-dough, yo-yos, or mini slinky’s
- Stickers, stamps, or tattoos
- Used children’s books (some libraries and used clothing stores sell them at low prices)
- Mini figurines (e.g. some places sell fun posable zombies)
- Mini games such as mini playing cards, mini brain teaser puzzles, or mini jigsaw puzzles
- Small gemstones, shark teeth, or other little treasures you can buy in bulk for fairly cheap
- Let your imagination roam!
What if your kids end up collecting large amounts of sugary treats from your neighborhood? Some parents suggest playing the role of the Switch Witch (whom I suspect is the Tooth Fairy’s cousin) — swapping some of the candy for healthier options such as those above while the kids are fast asleep. Some kids even look forward to her visit!
Have a happy and safe Halloween!