Who remembers that rhyme? With the arrival of Halloween and all things pumpkin-fied, here comes the tidal wave of candy options. Since this year “trick or treating” will be back in all its glory, some cities are talking about a candy shortage. I would love to know where these places are, because all my local retailers have been stocking up on Halloween candy since August!
I may be exaggerating a bit, but I’ve never had the issue of not finding candy. It’s more about what variety of candy to buy. With little ones, I’ve always skipped the hard candies due to the choking hazard potential. Last year, Ilse and I made up goodie bags with an assortment of treats for her friends. This year, Ilse picked out fruit candies, because she liked the assortment. Naturally, this got me thinking about alternatives to traditional candy and all the sticky, gooey things that stick children’s and adults’ teeth (but we love and crave).
Below are my top five Halloween treats that won’t rot your teeth and are school-safe.
1. Whole fruit (apple, pear, small oranges)
With the Fall, comes all the tree-bearing fruit: apples, pears, and some citrus. Whole fruit is nutritious and comes in all different varieties and sizes. Buy them in bulk, clean them, then bag in recyclable bags and hand them out to all the trick or treaters. Who says Halloween can’t be healthy!
2. Prepackaged salty snacks
At the beginning of the pandemic last year, Ilse’s preschool gave kids individually packaged snacks to avoid cross contamination. For Halloween, packaged pretzels, cheese crackers, chips, or other nut-free salty snacks are a nice alternative to candy. If there are extra bags, you have single portion snacks for school or work. Brilliant!
3. Individual serving fruit bars
Shameless plug for a food I love. Lately, I’ve been obsessed with Nature’s Bakery Fig bars. Ilse’s friend offered it to her as a snack during a playdate over the summer. Ilse loathed it; Alice liked it, and I loved it. I then went on to try all the different flavors. The seasonal pumpkin spice and fig are my favorites. Alice is partial to the blueberry. The best part about them is that they are made in a tree-nut and peanut free facility and are nut-free themselves.
4. Stickers or tattoos
If edible treats are not your thing, Halloween stickers or tattoos might be. Party supply stores, Michael’s, and Amazon carry an assortment of Halloween-themed (and not scary or gory) stickers and tattoos. Stickers and tattoos are fun, lightweight, and easy to buy in multiples.
5. Mini coloring books
My older daughter Ilse has begun enjoying coloring in mini coloring books in her spare time. It’s a nice quiet activity that sparks her creativity while keeping her away from a screen. In the same thread, why not offer mini Halloween coloring books as an alternative to candy? They are great for big kids and little kids alike. If they don’t color them right away, the coloring books can be saved for long car rides, waiting at doctor’s appointments, or anywhere else to keep little minds busy.
Halloween kicks off the season of Fall sweets and treats. While I am the first person to indulge in a pumpkin spice latte when they arrive at my neighborhood Starbucks, I also appreciate the creative alternatives to the tooth-achingly sweet candy. Having braces as an adult might have something to do with that need. In any event, It’s good for us parents to have alternate Halloween options that won’t rot the teeth of our children or someone’s children.