Yay for Halloween!
It’s almost Halloween, and I am so excited because Halloween is the start of the holiday season. Once we get to Halloween, it snowballs into Thanksgiving, Advent, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, New Year’s, Epiphany… I love all the holidays. My standard answer to “Which holiday is your favorite?’ is always “Whichever one is next!”
Now that I have kids, I feel like I get to experience holidays through the excitement of a child again. I’m so excited for this Halloween because, even though they have no idea what’s going on, Atticus and Gryffin get to participate. Last year on Halloween they were not even four weeks old yet. We’d barely been home from the NICU for a week. We put them in Halloween sleepers, snuggled them on the couch with the lights out, and ate pizza with my mom and brother.
But this year! This year we are doing the things! We have made the boys a cute twinsy costume and we are going to show off how stinking cute they are all over town.
But I’m also thinking about all the Halloween treats. I mean, I LOVED trick or treating when I was a kid. It is so much fun. But it was also the ’90s and people didn’t really give a hoot about allergies and sugar consumption. It’s sad, but true. So now I wonder about all the kids with food allergies who had to sit trick-or-treating out. I feel sad for all the little guys who can’t truly enjoy the holiday because of food allergies, and I cringe at the amount of sugar we throw at kids.
There was always that house that gave away raisins instead of candy (EW! No thanks). And the house that gave away toothbrushes because they thought they were so clever (though, honestly, I would have rather had that than the raisins.)
But when I think about the amount of peanut butter or nut filled candy I brought home every year, I worry about the kids with allergies. And even if you do offer an allergen-free candy, it is still so full of sugar. Despite having a terrible sweet tooth and intense love for baking (it just makes me so happy, even if it is more difficult now that I have twins), we try very hard not to give A and G a lot of sugar.
So I went looking for alternatives to Halloween candy that kids will still love (not raisins).
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Halloween Treats that Are Not Candy
1. Airplane Gliders
I’m a former teacher so of course my first thought was something that is STEM-related. Kiddos build a super simple airplane that is way better than the standard paper airplane. These come with the plastic piece you slide onto the nose to make it fly smoother and farther. Which makes for great impromptu science experiments. The kids won’t even realizing they are learning things.
2. Bouncy Balls
My Gryffin Micah would be so thrilled to get a new ball. Granted these aren’t infant-friendly and I would take it within seconds because he would put it in his mouth, but for those few seconds he would be thrilled. Also, I can already imagine how much fun it would be for him to watch it bounce like crazy all over the kitchen while he and Atticus are sitting in their high chairs and I’m cleaning up the kitchen.
3. Stamps, Temporary Tattoos, and Stickers
Maybe parents won’t love this idea, but kids will. Even older kids.
I had a Facebook “LIKE” stamp in my desk and even when Facebook became uncool because only “old people used it” my students still begged for a stamp. And putting it on their test if they earned an A wasn’t enough. They wanted them on their hands and their foreheads. (I never stamped their foreheads. But they asked every single time I pulled out the stamp. Every. Single. Time.)
One year when I was in elementary school, my mom bought me Valentines that came with tiny little temporary tattoos. Everyone in my class went to the bathroom to put on their tat.
You know what, even stickers would be awesome. You would not believe how much a sticker will motivate a child.
Or a teen.
Or an adult.
Yes, by adult I do mean me. I get ridiculously excited about my “I Voted” stickers. I always buy cute stamps when I go to the post office because they are like grown-up stickers. One time a coworker turned my Bitmoji into a sticker and you would have thought Christmas had come early.
4. Punching Balloons
I loved punching balloons when I was a kid. They would entertain me for a long time. This is also something older kids would really enjoy and you can even find some Halloween-themed ones for an extra festive touch.
While we are talking about balloons. If you’re super talented and cool, you could skip punching balloons and make each kid that came to your door (or car/booth because I don’t think people trick-or-treat at houses much anymore) a balloon animal.
If you do that, send me an invite. I’m a sucker for balloon animals.
5. Glow Sticks or Mini Flashlights
Parents will hate you, but the kids will love getting whistles! I bought Atticus and Gryffin some airplane shaped whistles at the Dollar Tree a few months ago. They still haven’t figured out how to make them whistle (so they think I can do magic) but they love trying. If I hand them a whistle in the bath tub, they sit still while I clean them off. #MomHack
This past summer I worked reading camp with first through third graders. There was a drawing every day for prizes. The most popular daily prize was definitely the whistles with the bracelet. It was really cute. I think they would also love these whistles that make them look silly.
7. Pencils and Erasers
The kiddos might not be too impressed by the pencils, but I promise they will use them and teachers everywhere will love you for all eternity.
Erasers are great, too! I remember buying these erasers at the Book Fair when I was a kid. We all loved them! It was definitely the best part of the Book Fair, by far. (If you are an English teacher or an LMS, that’s totally a joke. The books were the best part. For sure.) Also–500 erasers for $12? Win.
I really like these, too, and can definitely imagine kids keeping up with and using them.
It’s awesome, right?
Simple, inexpensive ways to ensure all kids can enjoy Halloween and trick or treating. I tried very hard to include items that were comparable in price to candy, even though a few of them are a little bit more expensive.
What is your favorite Halloween treat? Or your favorite Halloween memory? Tell me in the comments!
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