Halloween without candy? Ask kids of a certain age, and they would say “unthinkable!”. Actually, they might groan/cry/whine at the thought of not getting candy for Halloween. As we get older, getting candy becomes less important as we turn into the candy-givers. For some, it becomes more fun to watch families walk together with their children, dressed in original, unique, and cute costumes. Case in point: last year a family was dressed up as sharks, from the grandma to the toddler sitting in the wagon. You know that song – “baby shark doo doo doo doo” (I know you’re singing it).
For those who want to hand out candy but are considering options other than sweet and salty items, you’re only limited by your imagination (and maybe the law) in what you can give, and still be considered a “cool house”. One of my colleagues gave out small water bottles and she said the kids were so excited that some of them chugged the bottle right in front of her. A classic idea is pencils and erasers, but those seem to be most popular with elementary-aged children. So what else is there?
- Glow stick necklaces/bracelets – it can be hard to see kids running around in the dark even if they are part of a group. And of course who doesn’t like pretty colors?
- Mini water bottles or juice boxes – Kids and parents will appreciate the hydration station.
- Bubbles – Like the kind you see at weddings. They are fun and easy to clean up if it spills. They come in Halloween themes too.
- Halloween-themed trinkets – Think eye-ball bouncy balls, spider rings, stickers, rubber duckies, etc.
- Mini game books – word search, fill-in-the-blank, coloring, mazes, etc.
- Party favors – check out the party favors area of any store to get more ideas.
I have also seen people handing out things like play-doh, slime balls, and whistles. While these may be fun to give out, they may not be fun to clean up or deal with. So consider if something is age-appropriate and maybe save those items for older kids.
If you plan to give out treats, make sure they are prepackaged. Do not make your own snack bags, even if you swear that you wore gloves and didn’t have a cat walking on your kitchen counter. This goes for fresh fruit, too. Make sure each wrapper is not torn before giving them out. Check the expiration dates on packages as well. Finally, while you can’t account for all potential food allergies in kids, the most common ones you can consider are eggs, dairy, nuts, wheat, and soy. So it’s important to check the nutrition label, which will state all present allergies underneath the list of ingredients.