I’m not handing out candy this year for Halloween.
Don’t get me wrong, I celebrate Halloween like some people celebrate Christmas: decorations, elaborate planning, running around like a spooky Buddy the Elf, but I am done with candy. I’m done with the sugar highs, the meltdowns, and the let down when all the good candy is eaten and you’re left to settle for those weird orange and black candies that only seem to be purchased by the elderly.
I tend to get overly excited and buy a bag of Reese’s Pumpkins October 1st. I tell myself it’s for the trick or treaters, but it is gone in a week of sneaky “mom needs a break” moments (the specialty Reese’s shapes really do have a better chocolate to peanut butter ratio than the cups. This process repeats itself until approximately 30 minutes before trick or treating starts when I realize there’s no more candy in the house and I have to run to the store.Our house is in kind of an awkward location on our street bordered by a school, a church and a cornfield. We only have one direct neighbor who in previous years has not passed out candy. This creates a weird no man’s land situation where only the bravest kids ever knock on our door. The first three years I lived here we didn’t have a single trick or treater despite having the porch lights on and a giant bowl of candy. Each subsequent year we’ve had more and more but it is still a toss up to see how many we actually get. Due to my nature to over buy in a panic, we usually have a ton of candy which then must be consumed by yours truly…naturally.
Saying goodbye to handing out candy will certainly help in the mom-has-no-self-control department as well as the planning ahead department. Fear not, citizens of Cambridge, I’m not becoming the Halloween equivalent of Ebeneezer Scrooge (although Boo Humbug does have a nice ring to it). I’ll be be giving out non-food treats and playing a few tricks as well.
Another reason I’m doing this is to be part of the Teal Pumpkin Project. The Teal Pumpkin project’s goal is to create an inclusive environment for kids with food allergies. Imagine what it would be like to be a kid with food allergies, especially nut allergies on Halloween. Your options would be to not go trick or treating (bummer) or go trick or treating and then have to give up all your hard earned candy because you can’t eat it (double bummer). The Teal Pumpkin Project asks houses to offer a non-food option to trick or treaters and then show that you’re a participating house by putting out a teal pumpkin. If painting isn’t your thing, Hy-vee has pre painted pumpkins for you to use as well; I found them in the Health Market section by the gluten-free stuff.
So just what exactly do I plan on handing out? Last Year I started the transition to no candy and passed out mini play-doh cans. I figured with a two year old in the house, it would find a use even if there wasn’t a single trick or treater. Of course last year was the year of a ton of trick or treaters (for us) and we were left with only 1 container. This option could get a bit spendy if you live in a higher traffic area, but I will tell you it was a crowd pleaser. As kids ran back to their parents, they yelled “She’s giving out play-doh!!! This is awesome.” It was also a surprising hit among the” too cool for school, but not too cool to get dress up and get candy” tween/teen set.
This year we’re expecting a few more trick or treaters as we have new neighbors that seem more inclined to participate in Halloween so we are doing glow bracelets. Not only are they are awesome but I can pull out leftovers for any occasion (nothing says “Happy Thanksgiving” like a mini rave!). I figure they are kind of spooky and can help increase visibility if kids want to activate them and wear them right away. They are also really cheap in large quantities and readily available on Amazon and at party stores.
For school treats for my son, we’re going old school with those spider rings that have been cool forever and temporary tattoos. Both are available on Amazon so you don’t even have to leave your house and battle the weird Halloween/Christmas mashup that is going on in stores now. I’m in charge of a game/craft for the Pre-K kids so we are playing “Pumpkin Poke” where each spot has a place for a small favor.
Other options include bubbles, notepads, pencils, erasers, balloons, any party favor. I have a very vivid memory of someone passing out these toothbrushes on my street as a child, so there is always that option as well.
My cheapskate, plan ahead for next year plan is to hit up the day after Halloween sales and grab next year’s loot when it is on sale and pack it up with the decorations, unlike candy, it will still be good to go next year.
What ideas did I miss? Will you be passing out non-food options this Halloween?
“The TEAL PUMPKIN PROJECT and the Teal Pumpkin Image are trademarks of Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE).”