What are Some Good Substitutes for Halloween Candy?

wiseGEEK Writer

If you're not a fan of contributing to the sugar highs of your neighbor's kids, or you just want something different to hand out at Halloween, you'll find plenty of good substitutes for Halloween candy. Though candy is still traditional, some parents won't let their kids have it, and there are plenty of dentists each year that exchange small toys or gifts for candy, or even pay kids to turn in their candy. Parents may also do the same, and if your child loves trick or treating but you don't want them to have the sugar, you could get the child a small gift that they can "buy" with their candy supplies. Small toys, dried fruit, gum, or other single-serving foods can make good candy substitutes.

Hard caramel candies can easily damage braces, crowns and fragile teeth.
Hard caramel candies can easily damage braces, crowns and fragile teeth.

When you're giving out substitutes for Halloween candy to neighborhood trick-or-treaters, you’ve got so many options. One thing that many kids love, and in surveys will actually choose just as often as candy, are tiny, child safe toys that you can buy in bulk. Consider the value of skeleton rings, Halloween pencils and pens, toy whistles or jack-o-lantern mazes instead of handing out candy bars. Other folks would like to still give out a treat, but may not want to hand out those with sugar.

Pencils are a good Halloween treat to give to trick or treaters.
Pencils are a good Halloween treat to give to trick or treaters.

In this case, you can consider various treats that are made by nature and make good substitutes for Halloween candy. You can buy boxes of dried fruit, or if your trick-or-treaters are well known to you, you can give lovely fresh fruit too. The latter isn't recommended as substitutes for Halloween candy when you have kids coming to the home that don't know you, since most parents won’t allow children to have unwrapped items from strangers’ homes. Another yummy alternate to candy is to give things like individually wrapped granola bars or cookies, and you can find healthy varieties of these in health or natural foods stores.

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Though gum is often considered "candy," giving packs of sugarless gum usually won't hurt teeth, and can actually be good for kids' teeth when used in moderation. This would certainly be a dentist approved sweet treat as long as kids don't have braces or a lot of fillings. If you're really into dental health, you can give out Halloween themed toothbrushes, though these can be a little pricey.

Kids may also enjoy change; a quarter or a couple of dimes can be good substitutes for Halloween candy. Small gift certificates to get an ice cream or a muffin at a local store can be fun too. You should probably avoid giving out any treats that have peanuts in them, especially if they are not adequately labeled. So you may want to skip things like nutty trail mix, although if you know your trick-or-treaters don't have peanut or nut allergies, this could be a good option.

Alternately, a few more substitutes for Halloween candy include things like small packs of chips, cookies or crackers, individually wrapped beef jerky, a box of crayons; the list can stretch as far as your imagination. If you really want to give homemade treats, consider having an alternate packaged treat available for those kids you don’t know. Also when you wrap your treats, include your family name and address along with an ingredient list so parents can easily recognize the origin of the treat and make a judgment on whether it's something their children can have.

Granola bars are a healthy Halloween treat option.
Granola bars are a healthy Halloween treat option.

Discussion Comments


When I was a kid, I always enjoyed getting a few non-candy surprises when I was trick or treating. I used to live in Santa Monica, so there were many wealthier neighborhoods where not everyone was into giving candy that would rot your teeth. I can still remember one year when I got a new cassette form one house. It was a Michael Jackson tape (child of the 80's), bad if I'm not mistaken. There were also houses that had entire Halloween bags loaded with whole candy bars, small toys, and little puzzles. Things like madlibs, Rubik's cubes, Yo-Yos, trading cards, and comic books were popular then. Something along those lines would be a good alternative to candy (I'm not sure what types of toys are popular now). I think that anything that would inspire creativity, stimulate the mind or provide fun when bored would be a good Alternative Halloween treats. Get creative.


I give Halloween theme craft plasters and kids love painting them! For the girls, I give packs of mixed beads and sequins to make little bracelets or brooches. I chuck in a couple of Halloween theme balloons and they can blow until they turn green for a Halloween scare! We can't say to our kids candies are bad for them and come Halloween we load them with a year's supply!

I asked my kids to quietly decline homemade cookies/lollies or any non commercialized, unpackaged food.

Ice tubes are good ideas for a hot summer night treat. As they are uncommon treats it is unlikely that kids get too many to be melted away! --Aunty Arty

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