30 Non-Candy Goodies to Hand Out on Halloween
By Jenna Braddock, MSH, RD, CSSD, ACSM-CPT, a mom and consultant dietitian who works with Clif Bar & Company.
The ideas and suggestions written below are provided for general educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice or care. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider before beginning any physical fitness or health- and nutrition related activity.
Dressing up in costumes is a huge part of the fun of Halloween, but let’s face it, our kids are probably most excited about eating A LOT of candy. As parents, we want our kids to have fun on this beloved holiday but also wouldn’t mind incorporating some goodies with more wholesome qualities or non-food Halloween treats.
Let’s also not forget that kids need to fuel their bodies as they run from house to house in order to (hopefully) prevent them from crashing and the dreaded tummy ache from eating too much candy. Some kids need non-food options because of food allergies or sensitivities while some parents just appreciate more natural food options they can easily include in a school lunch.
Perhaps you’d prefer to not buy candy this Halloween and instead spark some creativity or curiosity in kids. Who wouldn’t love a fun prize, craft, or toy they can play with while parading around the neighborhood or to enjoy during playtime later?
Here’s a plethora of non-candy goodies and non-food goodies you can easily find, afford and hand out to the happy kids of your neighborhood this Halloween. But these aren’t just good ideas for October 31st; they’re perfect for classroom parties or other fun gatherings too.
Here are non-candy snack ideas that are great alternatives to candy, perfect for fueling trick-or-treaters on their night of fun (or to pack in their lunchbox the next day).
Depending on what time your kids set out to trick-or-treat, they may need a little fuel to keep their bodies going as they run from house to house. Hand out CLIF Kid Zbars to trick-or-treaters and fellow parents will be so thankful for the lifesaver of a snack to energize kids the rest of the night. Zbar is a great tasting, whole grain energy snack bar made with organic oats and is a good source of fiber. You can also feel good knowing it contains no high fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors.
For those kiddos who easily get hungry on the trick-or-treat trail, pack or pass out Zbar protein bars. These delicious, crispy snack bars are made with organic oats and have a good source of protein to help calm kids’ rumbling bellies and support their growing bodies. Flavors like Cookies n’ Creme, Chocolate Chip and Chocolate Mint will absolutely put smiles on faces. They’re also gluten free and contain no high fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors.
3. Raisin Boxes
These tiny boxes of fun are a naturally sweet snack that all ages love. They are appropriate for all the major food allergies and are celebrated by parents everywhere.
4. Fruit Leather
This tasty snack is usually made from dried fruit and fruit juice with a chewy texture. It’s a more natural alternative to fruit snacks that often don’t contain any actual fruit.
5. Applesauce Squeeze Packs
This portable snack is perfect for the trick-or-treat trail. Parents love that they’re neat to eat and made from whole fruit. They are shelf stable and can be saved for lunches too. If you want to dress them up, there are ideas online for how to turn them into Halloween-themed characters like mummies.
6. Educational Cookies
If you’re someone who likes to slip in some education with a snack, then you’ll love passing out educational cookies. These cookies come in single-serve packs and come in state capitals, presidents, English/Spanish words, and more. Search for “educational snacks” online to purchase.
Single-serve popcorn bags are an excellent candy alternative for Halloween. Popcorn is a beloved snack by all and is actually a fiber-containing whole grain. Whether kids eat it while they’re walking around or save it for a school snack, you can’t go wrong with this idea.
8. Flavored Water Drink Pouches
Kids will absolutely be thirsty out on the trick-or-treat trail and will be looking for something to drink. Set out a bucket or cooler of flavored water pouches as a refreshing pit stop and non-candy Halloween treat.
For those who want to steer clear of any food for your trick-or-treat stash, I’ve got great news for you! There are many options for alternatives to candy for Halloween that kids will actually enjoy and don’t cost a fortune.
If you do go this route, I encourage you to put out a teal pumpkin to alert families with food allergies that your house is a safe place for their kids.
1. Slap Bracelets
Perhaps you grew up during the slap bracelet obsession of the ’90s and will be delighted to know they are still a hit with kids. Look for bracelets with superhero or character themes that might easily go with popular costumes.
2. Jump Ropes
This old-school playground staple can be a fun prize for trick-or-treaters too. Kids’ imaginations can think of so many fun ways to use a jump rope in their creative playtime. Look for brightly colored, rainbow, or glitter ropes that will be sure to catch the eye of costumed kiddos.
3. Plantable Pencils
Any day is a good day to spark curiosity for nature, and that includes Halloween. Go a little green this year with plantable pencils from Sprouts. When kids are done using the pencil, they can plant the bottom in a pot of soil and watch something grow! Sets of pencils include seeds for a variety of flowers and herbs. Take it up a notch by making a goodie bag that includes an eraser and sharpener too.
Flying objects always make kids happy, plus they give kids something to do back home as they come off the high of trick-or-treating. It’s easy to find a bulk pack of glider airplane toys online, and I guarantee they will be a big hit.
5. Disguise Glasses
Parents and kids alike will enjoy snagging a pair of disguise glasses to wear while walking around the neighborhood. You can go classic with the nose and mustache or get crazy with all kinds of funny glasses. Cardboard glasses are easy to find now as photobooth props, but they work great as a non-food Halloween treat too.
6. Bouncy Balls
I don’t know what it is about bouncy balls that makes them so appealing, but kids love them. Set out a big tub of brightly colored fun balls and let trick-or-treaters pick their favorite.
As a parent, I cringe just a little bit whenever I see slime. But, if you want to be the cool-house-on-the-block-not-serving-candy, slime is what you need. Search for “mini slime party favors” online and you’ll find a host of options from glitter to glow in the dark.
If slime is not your thing, then stickers may just be the next surefire option that will always make kids smile. Sticker sheets are easy to find in bulk and come in a variety of themes for fall, like decorating pumpkins and making faces, animals, solar systems, and more!
9. Self-Inking Stamps
Holiday-themed mini stamps are always fun. My kids end up stamping themselves or friends more than any paper, but they love it!
10. Colored Pens
For the late elementary school-age kids, pens are a big deal. They will love a new colored pen, and if you want to be “extra,” get the erasable kind.
11. Playing Card Sets
Give trick-or-treaters a fun game to play while sorting through their loot with a card game like Go Fish or Old Maid. Look for sets of “playing cards party favors” for variety packs or try traditional mini playing cards sets.
12. Glow Sticks or Bracelets
Not only are glow sticks super fun on Halloween night, but they also help kids stay safe by illuminating them. Glow sticks are pretty affordable and come in a variety of fun shapes like bracelets, necklaces, and rings. They’re the perfect addition to a fun night in the neighborhood.
13. Pirate Eye Patches
Give kids a fun addition to their make-believe play time with pirate eye patches. It might sound silly, but I have personally witnessed the fun that can ensue with just an eye patch. These are easy to buy in bulk online too.
14. Vampire Teeth
A classic Halloween costume prop is the vampire teeth. It’s a fun, very on-point prize to give out to trick-or-treaters. You can still find the nostalgic wax fangs, which are actually a type of chewing gum, or buy a bulk pack of the non-edible kind.
Don’t think of boring pink slab erasers here. Erasers have evolved, and you can find them in so many delightful shapes that kids will love. You can easily find bulk packs online with a wide variety of shapes that are really fun, like a taco. Who wouldn’t want a taco eraser?
16. Witch Fingers
Witch, or Martian fingers, are about 3" long phony fingertips that you slip over your fingers. They tend to be wrinkly looking, have a wart or two, and long fingernails. Many of them even glow in the dark. It’s another fun dress-up accessory to offer trick-or-treaters that will make the night a little spookier.
17. Sticky Hands
You may have spotted sticky hands in the prize vending machines at a store before, but they also make a great non-candy Halloween treat for kids. Kids will have fun for days slapping them onto objects and picking them up.
18. Halloween Rings
Kids love to slip something fun onto their fingers, so a Halloween-themed ring will be very well received. You can go with the classic spider ring or perhaps a variety pack of all kinds of arachnids, bats, and skulls. There are also glow-in-the-dark and light-up ring options.
Give kids another reason to run around on Halloween night by handing out paratroopers. This iconic military-style figure has a parachute attached to their back. Kids simply throw them up into the air and watch them glide to the ground. You can purchase a large number of them for a very affordable price.
20. Mustache Stickers
If you want to make people laugh on Halloween, hand out mustache stickers. These instantly bring out the silly spirit in everyone, even in those tougher-to-reach preteens.
21. Pencil Sharpeners
This is a great idea when you have a lot of younger elementary kids in your neighborhood. Pencil sharpeners are always needed and always hard to find, at least in my house. It’s perfect to pair with the plantable pencils mentioned above too.
22. Temporary Tattoos
Nearly every child loves temporary tattoos, and it leaves them with a fun reminder of Halloween night or a fun accessory for imaginative play later. Offer something for everyone from glittery bracelets and designs to characters and inspirational sayings.
Hopefully this list of non-candy goodies gives you a multitude of candy alternatives for your Halloween celebration.