I love Halloween! Dressing up in costumes, carving pumpkins into Jack-O-Lanterns and putting up decorations brings back happy childhood memories. My husband and I have a collection of “vintage” Halloween decorations we spend hours putting up in our yard every year. Even though our twenty five year old son thinks we’re nuts since we don’t have any young children of our own, we just love seeing the neighborhood kids delight in our Halloween display.
But my one big problem with Halloween is I don’t like all the unhealthy candy kids are getting trick or treating. I was shocked to discover that even young children who fill a 10 quart pail haul in around 9.5 lbs. or 375 pieces of candy on Halloween! OMG!
How much candy do we eat?
USA Today reports that 4% of all candy consumed is on Halloween. Here’s a report that shows the percentages by age of those eating candy on Halloween (from USA Today):
2-5 years old: 73%
6-8 years old: 87%
9-12 years old: 67%
13-17 years old: 50%
Adult men (18 and older): 54%
Adult women (18 and older): 46%
According to a recent survey from the National Confectioners Association, 72% of all money spent on candy this Halloween will be on chocolate. Last year, the U.S. spent over $12.6 billion on chocolate, a 3.8% increase than 2011. 
Halloween is BIG BUSINESS for the candy manufactures. So most of us feel obligated to hand out candy as a part of this tradition. But I think it’s time this “tradition” of sugar binging needs to be re-examined and I have some ideas on how to do that and still keep the fun in Halloween.
While I am not able to find any official numbers, I know that many people (and children alike) are very sugar sensitive. Most parents notice hyperactivity and mood swings in children after consuming sugary products. There is actually a good number of people who have pretty severe reactions to sugar; which I’ll be posting more about next week in an upcoming post….
Many children have food intolerance’s to the ingredients in even the healthier food treats. So this year I am not handing out candy on Halloween but will be handing out some wonderful non-food tick or treats.
Alternatives to candy as a treat
I put together a list of items you can purchase at many dollar stores, drug stores or craft supply stores. You can also find great deals on bulk items from on-line “trading” sources. In fact, I spent under $20 and found a variety of the items I listed here. This was much less than I’d have sent on candy since we typically get over 150 trick or treater’s!
- Glow sticks
- Themed pencils or erasers
- Themed band aids
- Mini bubbles
- Finger puppets
- Small note pads
- Mini flash lights
- Glow in the dark – anything
- Bracelets or necklaces
- Mini coloring books
- Mini stamps
- Mini toys and puzzles
- Hair barrettes or ties
- Spider rings
- Themed Shoelaces
This year I encourage you to think outside the candy box and opt for non-food treats for the children in your neighborhood. Happy Halloween!