A week or two before Halloween used to be a pretty obvious drill: head to Costco or your traditional grocery store, buy a few massive bags of "fun-size" chocolate bars or mini Skittles, and fill the bowl by the door.
Wait for dusk when the Harry Potters, the Darth Vaders, and the cute baby in a pumpkin costume to show up, and dole out the sweets -- no candy alternatives here.
You could even stash your favorite leftovers in a Ziploc and eat them yourself! (Of course, make sure you brush your teeth after.)
Hold the Sugar! Treats With Little or No Sweet
A sea change has taken place over the last few years, however, with a certain amount of forward momentum to create a more healthy alternative. In the name of keeping teeth healthy, some parents drive a hard bargain with Junior to buy his sugar stash from him, but maybe it would be easier on everyone if Halloween became less candy and more "treat" focused.
If you're among the parents wishing for a change but you're not sure how to effect it, here are 10 alternatives to filling those plastic pumpkins and old pillowcases with candy, candy, and more candy.
(You'll notice that these options mostly avoid the suggestion of plastic toys that don't do much but add to landfill in the long run.)
Ten Candy Alternatives for Which Your Child's Dentist Will Thank You
- Grab a few mesh bags of those small "cutie" mandarin oranges and a Sharpie, get your artist's groove on, and draw simple pumpkin faces on them.
- Dole out individual bags of goldfish or pretzels.
- How about those flavored honey sticks, sold in packs of 10, divided into individual sticks?
- Who doesn't love those boxes of Animal Crackers with the random carry string?
- Character Band-Aids come in many different looks, from Minions to Superman to Bart Simpson.
- The ever-practical pencil -- spice it up by buying sparkly ones.
- The just-as-practical eraser -- glue on googly eyes if you're feeling crafty.
- Sometimes a ballon is all a little kid needs.
- Come on, admit it; even you love would love a temporary tattoo of a Harley.
- Buy a few bins of sidewalk chalk and give out two or three secured with elastic bands.
If all else fails, you can always head to the bank, get a few rolls of quarters, and hand out a coin or two.
The little monsters might use them in the grocery store gum-ball machine...but at least you tried.