Several years ago, I decided to swap the contents of my candy bowl for healthy treats and/or non-food items, like goldfish crackers and school supplies. Only one night a year do dozens of children swarm my front porch—and, while I certainly want those children to enjoy a little candy on Halloween night, I also want to use the opportunity to meet potential needs. Some children go to bed hungry, save trick-or-treated prizes, on Halloween night. Some children start the following day without breakfast. Some children live in a food desert, or a community with little available in the way of fresh fruits and vegetables—and my home may be the only home, including his or her own, that offers a child fresh produce, whole grains, or new pencils. While there is much to do in my community the other 364 days of the year, only one night a year do these little ones come to me, hands outstretched. At the risk of being labeled the worst house on the block for treats, it gives me great joy to provide something healthy for those little hands.
Another benefit to (mostly) avoiding candy during the Halloween season is that we’re not left with half a bowl of Twix or Kit-Kats the next morning. I’m not searching Pinterest madly for “ideas to use up leftover Halloween candy.” We haven’t brought anything into our home that we don’t already eat on a regular basis. I love sweets, and I love treating my children, but I also want to ensure that a handful of candy doesn’t snowball into a bad habit. My oldest son has autism and related gastrointestinal issues, so we try to be especially careful to feed our children healthful foods as often as possible.
Squeezable fruit puree pouches make for great candy-bowl stuffers, but of course also make for great snacks or desserts any day of the week:
Annie’s Homegrown makes any number of healthy snacks; my Target carries these organic Bunny Fruit Snacks in its Halloween candy section. This particular package is ready-to-go for Halloween night, with fifteen fun-sized pouches:
Another idea is miniature water bottles—if you’re brave enough to give trick-or-treaters water:
These Honest Kids juice pouches might be a safer bet:
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the inclusion of gluten-free treats at Target stores this Halloween season. Mine carries an entire endcap of goodies:
If your heart is set on “real” candy, you’ve still got a few options. Trade Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups for Justin’s—made with organic dark chocolate and real peanut butter:
Ultimately, you don’t need to visit Whole Foods to find healthy Halloween treats! Keep your candy bowl simple with apples, seedless tangerines, raisins—and a neighborly smile!
What do you like to pass out as Halloween treats? Any other suggestions we missed? Leave us a comment and let us know!