Halloween wasn’t always about candy. Samira Kawash, also known as the Candy Professor, wrote, “The ritual of costumes, doorbell-ringing, and expectation of booty appeared for the first time in different locations throughout the country in the late 1930s and early 1940s. It wasn’t until the late 1940s that trick-or-treating became widespread on a national scale. And even then, candy wasn’t the obvious treat. Kids ringing a stranger’s doorbell in 1948 or 1952 received all sorts of tribute: Coins, nuts, fruit, cookies, cakes, and toys were as likely as candy.”
Chances are, though, that from now until the end of the universe, Halloween will be about candy. So maybe we can’t stop America’s candy obsession, but we can stop ourselves from taking part in it. No child – with or without diabetes – needs to receive bags full of candy. Our Halloween tip is to give the trick-or-treaters who show up at your door something other than candy. We searched through Amazon to find some suggestions and we found a lot, many of which I have personal experience with. If you have items to recommend, please add them in the comments section so we can compile an extensive list. Enjoy a happy and safe Halloween! – Jessica Apple
I still like Play-Doh. I like the way it feels, I like the way it smells, and it can keep my sons – and me – busy for hours. It’s also a good gift because it’s reusable, assuming you keep it in its closed container. Give kids a candy bar and you’re giving them empty calories and maybe contributing to a cavity or two, as well. Give kids Play-Doh and you’re giving them the chance to sculpt their own witches, black cats, pumpkins, ghosts, and more.
You can remind the littlest trick-or-treaters that Play-Doh is not a snack, not even if you shape it into a cookie! Also, I’ll note from personal experience- keep your dog or cat away from the Play-Doh. Once the pet hair gets in there, it doesn’t come out.
My son Adam has a plain rubber duckie just the size of these, and he plays with it along with his Ernie doll. Adam swiped the rubber duckie from his brother’s room where it had been displayed on the windowsill along with all sorts of other treasures – a Hot Wheels car, a skeleton doll, an Angry Birds cap, and most importantly, an Obama ’08 pin.
These rubber 1″ erasers that come in assorted Halloween monster shapes and colors are another great alternative to candy for the trick-or-treaters. As a child I collected erasers, and would have been delighted to have received one of these. If your children don’t collect erasers, they’ll still be happy to stick these on top on their school pencils- unless they’ve already made the move to taking an iPad to school.
In case the moon is not bright enough this Halloween, you can give kids a chance to light up the night with Glow Stick Bracelets.
A few years ago we had a Star Wars birthday party for my son and gave the kids bracelets like these. They were a huge success. Huge! And speaking of huge, I was eight months pregnant at the time, and wore several bracelets and made myself a lovely purple necklace, thanks to the connectors that allow you to make longer items. In hindsight, I think I probably should have made myself a glowing belt to show off my belly.
Here’s what the manufacturer has to say about these: “They will glow super bright for 10 – 12 hours. Then, they will start to fade out but may continue to emit some light for up to 36 hours. Each tube contains 5 fantastical colors — Presto Pink, Golden Wand, Green Dragon, Spooky Orange, and Bravo Blue. Your order will also contain connectors so you can hook the ends together to make bracelets and necklaces. We are constantly getting new shipments from the factory, so you know these are as fresh and new as they come. They have a shelf life of 2 years. Wizard’s Wand Glow brand glow-in-the-dark products are non-toxic. They are not radioactive and they are not flammable. The almost never break open, but if they do, the chemicals inside can be washed off skin with ordinary soap or detergent.”
Celebrate Halloween in style this year with these awesome 11″ helium quality latex balloons. These balloons come in Halloween colors such as orange, black, and white. They are Halloween themed, too- spiders, bats, skeleton and webs. It may not seem like much of a treat to give a child a balloon that’s not inflated. But, in fact, kids enjoy blowing up balloons, and a game of keep-the-balloon-up-in-the-air lasts until the balloon pops.
These are cute, stretchy, and fun. Here’s what the manufacturer has to say about them: “Buddy Bands – Spooky Bands – 12 Pack contains 6 exclusive, Double Wrap bands that are twice as big and twice as cool as standard bands, including – Haunted House, Jack-o-Lantern (pumpkin), Ghost, Black Cat, Bat, and Skeleton. These bands are also thicker and stronger than other bands with vibrant colors. Perfect for trick-or-treat gifts on Halloween!” I agree, perfect trick-or-treat gifts.
My sons’ dentist gives these as prizes to the kids after they’ve had their teeth cleaned. So the kids walk out of the dentist’s office with a brand new set of teeth/fangs. They think it’s hilarious, and I do, too. Even funnier is when the dentist gives them green fangs. Then I get to exclaim over and over again, “I can’t believe I paid the dentist to do that to your teeth!”
We’ve had many sets of fangs around our home over the years. The kids like them so much, they’ll gladly pass them from mouth-to-mouth just to get a turn to wear them. So beware. Some adult supervision and some washing is recommended.
Provide trick-or-treaters with creative fun instead of a sugar rush. We’ve given Wikki Stix out as birthday party favors and my kids have received them along with coloring pages in restaurants. Unlike most inexpensive toys, Wikki Stix are made in the USA! That makes us especially happy to recommend them.
Each Pak includes 50 individual Wikki Stix handouts each with 8 black and orange Wikki Stix and a fun activity sheet with connect-the-dot pumpkin, cat and bat.
*Some of the items listed here may not be suitable for babies and/or young children. Remember to check each item’s packaging for safety information.
Jessica Apple is the editor-in-chief of ASweetLife. She writes the blog The Natural Diabetic.