Healthy Trick-or-Treating Ideas

Halloween is nearly here and you can almost feel the sugar rush. Did you know that American’s buy more than 600 million pounds of candy a year for Halloween? In the weeks before Halloween Americans will spend up to $2.4 billion on candy!

To actually consume that much candy, every man, woman, and child in the country would have to eat almost 8 pounds of candy each! Ick. If you ate 8 pounds of candy bars that would be about 17,000 calories, 806g of fat, and 1,814g of sugar!

It is okay to indulge a bit on Halloween, but for many parents the idea of that much sugar is scarier than any zombie costume! However, it can also be hard to throw that much candy away when you know lots of money has been spent on it. So what is a parent to do?

To get some help, we’ve asked for some ideas from our parents at Utah Valley Pediatrics on healthy alternatives for trick-or-treaters that won’t cause a mutiny. One parent pointed out that many of these are also great for kids who have food allergies!

Thanks to everybody who sent in their wonderful ideas!

Healthy Ideas

School Supplies: By the end of October most kids will have already bitten the erasers off all their pencils. New Halloween pencils and erasers are a great way to freshen up their dreary pencil boxes.

Stickers: We don’t know what it is about stickers, but kids love them. Find some spooky stickers and let trick-or-treaters pick their favorites.

Water Bottles: One clever idea was to hand out small bottles of water for those thirsty trick-or-treaters. We also found these super cute Halloween water bottle labels you can print out for them!

Small toys: Things like spider rings, whistles, bouncy balls, sticky hands, stamps, bubbles, vampire teeth, silly bands, and other novelty toys can be inexpensive and fun. Some online stores have great deals.

Glow Sticks: A favorite was glow sticks. You can buy them in packs of 10 or 15 at many of the dollar discount stores or online. Kids go crazy for them! And it also has the added benefit of making the kids easier to see in the dark!

Healthier Snacks: Boxes of raisins, bags of unpopped popcorn, or packets of sunflower seeds are a great alternative to candy. Look for Halloween-themed snacks items like pretzels. Although they aren’t exactly “healthy” they sure beat candy corn.

Craft items: Kids love to create. Make it easy by giving out crayons, paints, or those cute little foam stickers.

Wondering what to do with the candy your kids get?

At the end of the night, if you are a bit overwhelmed by the stash of candy your kids have brought home, here are some things you can do with all that candy.

  • Save it for Christmas and use it to decorate gingerbread houses.
  • Donate it to a local food bank, but call first to make sure they accept it.
  • Give it to the troops! Some dentist offices offer a candy-buy-back program where they “buy” candy back with money, coupons, or raffle tickets. The candy is then shipped overseas to the troops in care packages. To find out which dentists in your area are involved visit Or you can offer to let your kids trade in their candy for a toy or activity they have been wanting and then mail in the candy yourself.
  • Make an advent calendar chain by rolling up the pieces of candy in cellophane wrap and then tie Christmas ribbon around each piece of candy. In December enjoy one piece a day as you countdown to Christmas.
  • Some families have a “Great Pumpkin” or “Candy Fairy” who takes their candy and switches it for a present. The kids pick out a reasonable number of pieces from their haul and the rest is let outside for the Great Pumpkin to take away Halloween night.
  • Pick out candy with a long-shelf life and use it in your emergency kits.
  • Use the candy to make candy bouquets and donate them to a retirement home.
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