By TMoM Team Member Anna Keller

Trick-or-treat time usually means doling out types of candy we’re all familiar with: Sour Patch Kids, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Snickers Bars, and so many other favorites. And there’s a LOT of it purchased in October. (Americans buy nearly 600 MILLION POUNDS of candy every year just for Halloween. WHOA!)

And yet, what if you want to participate in Halloween but through the lens of other priorities, such as health, inclusivity, or sustainability?

Maybe you want to hand out gummies without food dyes or high-fructose corn syrup, or you want to be sensitive to trick-or-treaters with food allergies, or you just want to be more mindful of the planet in the process.

The good news is, some great options exist if you find yourself in one (or more!) of those categories.

Healthier Candy Options for Halloween

From a health standpoint, there are ingredients commonly found in candy that are worth avoiding if possible – especially once you consider how much candy most kids consume this time of year. To be clear, I’m NOT about food shaming or making anyone feel guilty about their food choices, and my children certainly eat conventional candy sometimes.

But the reality is there are great candy choices out there that leave out those more questionable ingredients without getting in the way of all the Halloween fun, and that’s a win-win in my book!

Those not-so-great ingredients include things like artificial flavors and colors, partially hydrogenated oils, excessive sugar, preservatives, and high-fructose corn syrup. Some candy options that have cleaner ingredients than conventional treats (and still taste SO good!) include:

  • YumEarth treats
  • Annie’s fruit snacks
  • Simply Gum
  • Cocomels
  • Unreal
  • Surf Sweets

Allergen-Friendly Treats

It can be hard for kids who have food allergies to go “all in” with Halloween participation, and it’s also tricky to anticipate which allergies and sensitivities to cater to when it comes to giving out treats. If you want to forgo candy altogether to make your trick-or-treat goodies available to any child, you can go the toy route! Don’t forget a teal pumpkin signifies a food allergen friendly trick-or-treating house!

Here are a few toy options that tend to be a hit with kids and can be enjoyed by anyone, regardless of food allergies or preferences:

  • Squishies
  • Pop fidget toys
  • Crayons
  • Bouncy balls
  • Pencils

Helping Mother Earth This Halloween

Remember those 600 million pounds of candy purchased by Americans every year for Halloween? Yeah…not NEARLY all of it is packaged with sustainability in mind. If that’s on your radar (like it is mine), you start to cringe thinking about alllllll that packaging waste being added to landfills. Yes, Halloween is so much fun – but is there a way to do it and minimize some of that waste?

If you want to be mindful of the planet while still delighting the costumed kiddos who come to your door, here are a few ideas:

  • Cuties clementines with jack-o-lantern faces drawn on them
  • Boxes of raisins (regular or chocolate covered!)
  • Canned drinks (we love Olipop at our house!)
  • Popped popcorn (or other bulk candy) passed out in paper bags
  • Treats in paper boxes
  • Foil-wrapped chocolates

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