Nutrition Articles

No Tricks! Just Healthier Halloween Treats!

13 Alternatives Kids Will Love

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Forget haunted houses, the walking dead, or vampire bats. If there's one thing that scares me about Halloween, it's the candy. Packed full of artificial colors and flavors, chemical additives, and high fructose corn syrup, Halloween candy makes my skin crawl more than being blindfolded and sticking my hand into a bowl full of cold spaghetti! As a kid, I loved candy, of course. As a mom, I wish it didn't exist. But I believe that depriving my daughter of the Halloween experience, candy included, would cause more harm than a couple of days of gluttony.

Fortunately, I've recently discovered that there's a whole new world of treats out there that will satisfy both of us. It's still candy, but it's not made of junk. If you’re going to be treating trick-or-treaters with candy this Halloween, consider stocking your plastic pumpkin pail with some of these healthier selections. Far from handing out apples or toothbrushes, these crowd pleasers are the real thing!

Barbara’s Snackimals Animal Cookies are far beyond traditional animal crackers, which usually contain trans fats and very little flavor. These crunchy cookies are even made with organic ingredients and come in Chocolate Chip, Snickerdoodle, Vanilla and Oatmeal varieties.  
CLIF Kid ZBars are low in fat, made with whole oats, and fortified with 12 essential vitamins and minerals. They are free of hydrogenated oils, high-fructose corn syrup, preservatives, and artificial flavors or colors. And they come in 7 delicious flavors: Apple Cinnamon, Chocolate Brownie, Blueberry, Chocolate Chip, Honey Graham, Peanut Butter and, just in time for Halloween, Spooky S'Mores. 
Endangered Species Bug Bites are individually wrapped, single-serving chocolate squares—perfect if you want to pass out something delicious and environmentally responsible.  
FruitaBü Organic Smoooshed Fruit Rolls look and taste like all-too-familiar junk food, but are made from real organic fruit, with no artificial additives or added sugar. You can buy them in natural food stores and many supermarkets, or online. 
Ginger People Ginger Chews certainly taste good, so you can’t go wrong with flavors like Original Ginger, Spicy Apple Ginger, Peanut Ginger and Hot Coffee Ginger.  
Let's Do...Organic Fruiti Bears Gummies are made with organic ingredients and contain no gelatin, gluten, high-fructose corn syrup or artificial additives. All that’s left is delicious flavor! These come in boxes containing four individually-wrapped bags and are available in four varieties: Super Sour, Fruity, Classic, and Jelly.  
Pure Fun Organic Candy makes yummy hard candies and lollypops that are free of pesticides, artificial flavors, synthetic colors, and gluten. They come in several kid-friendly flavors, like Tangy Tangerine, Loony Lemon, and Giddy Green Apple. 
Stretch Island Original Fruit Leathers are sweet and chewy strips of real, dried fruit that will satisfy a kid’s sweet tooth and count as half a serving of fruit! Stretch Island is one of many brands of fruit leather that you can buy online, in natural food stores and at many supermarkets.
Tree Hugger All Natural Bubble Gumis made without any artificial colors or flavors. Each 2 oz.-package includes pomegranate, classic bubblegum, lemonade, wildberry and watermelon flavors.
Annie's Cheddar Bunnies aren't candy but they are a fun, bite-size snack that kids will love. They're made with organic wheat and cheese and no artificial flavors or colors. 
Yummy Earth Organic Lollipops and Candy Drops come in flavors like Pomegranate Pucker and Wet Face Watermelon. Free of gluten, nuts and corn syrup, these candies are also certified organic and kosher. They’re available at Whole Foods and other natural foods stores, and online.
Last Minute Treats: If you can’t get your hands on any of these treats before the porch lights go on, don’t forget about good old standbys like individual packages of nuts or raisins, which you can pick up at any supermarket. If you have your heart set on candy, stick to dark chocolate (which should not contain any milk), or candies with the shortest ingredients lists.
 

When you hand out these candies at your door this Halloween, you can feel a little better knowing that you’re doing your part. If you have kids, and they’re willing, you can even swap their junk for the good stuff. For my four-year-old, I buy an assortment of healthier treats, set up a store where she can shop for them, and let her pay for her purchases with her trick-or-treating loot. It may be a bit of a trick, but in exchange she gets a far better treat. She still eats more sugar than I’d like on Halloween—after all, natural or not, candy is still candy—but it’s healthier than the conventional choices.

This article has been reviewed and approved by SparkPeople healthy eating expert, Tanya Jolliffe.
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About The Author

Liza Barnes Liza Barnes
Liza has two bachelor's degrees: one in health promotion and education and a second in nursing. A registered nurse and mother, regular exercise and cooking are top priorities for her. See all of Liza's articles.

Member Comments

  • I once handed out little costume jewelry rings to little girls, don't remember about the guys! But it went over huge! I still like candy so wouldn't restrict handing it out once a year .but we have no trick or treaters on our lonely street and haven't for over 8 years. I'm more concerned at the junk food my grandkids are always eating. Honestly I've never seen them eat a meal set in front of them. But if its coke, mcdonalds or candy they eat if all. But it's not my house so I can't control it. Try to give em better stuff at my house but they won't touch it! - 10/29/2012 8:13:17 PM
  • I just bought yummy earth lollipops last week for me:-) really taste good. Grandkids like them too! - 10/29/2012 8:01:13 PM
  • I was really surprised to see the wonderful array of healthy candies available. Excellent! - 10/28/2012 10:33:18 AM
  • I think this article is talking about purchasing candy for you and your family, and not for the kids that come up to the door. - 10/27/2012 11:19:56 PM
  • Wouldn't have touched any of the dark chocolate stuff with a pole as a kid (still wouldn't, quite honestly). I know maybe one kid who'll eat dark chocolate. The only thing that might fly are the gummi bears.

    It's one night a year- and if it's not, it's the parents' responsibility.

    I'll definitely have "real" treats for the kids- and some non-food ones too. I know some kids have allergies, but none of my family do so I don't check for contamination. Instead, there's non-food things like pencils.

    Left-over candy? I usually take it with me to the office. It's always gone even faster than when the trick-or-treaters come round. - 10/27/2012 4:23:53 PM
  • We have 70 - 80 kids come by our house, so treats costing $4.99 for a bag of 18 candies gets expensive quickly, especially if you give out more than a single piece. We give out a choice of a treat (candy or chips) or a non-edible treat (larger seashells we've picked up on beaches -- no mollusks still in the shell when found, unusual rocks/minerals from when my husband collected them, etc). The kids are 2:1 on preferring the non-edible "treats" to the edible ones. - 10/27/2012 4:12:58 PM
  • FITALLEY
    Our dentist neighbor hands out cups of soup at our neighborhood Halloween party. I am going to join him this year and hand out hot, home-made rolls shaped as ghosts. The kids don't always go for it, but the adults out in the cold love it, and I am so sick of candy! - 10/27/2012 4:01:08 PM
  • Those would be great treats for health-conscious grown-ups but, except for the gummis, would not go over well in my neighborhood. - 10/27/2012 1:40:22 PM
  • Interesting article, Liza!

    What do you do with the candy your daughter then exchanges with you?

    cj - 10/27/2012 12:57:22 PM
  • -BENI-
    My first thought that came to mind when I read this was the boy in Home Alone - when he makes the comment - Last year I got a sweater with a Big Bird knitted on it. You can get beat up for wearing something like that.
    Who wants that stuff for Halloween?
    Then I thought... perhaps that's why I'm in the mess I'm in!!
    Sorry, no candy coming in the house and no candy going out. We don't have many trick or treater's anyhow and live in a huge neighborhood so they'll be fine. - 10/27/2012 12:13:22 PM
  • I don't get any trick or treat kids other than my grand daughter. I give her a toy. she loves it!. - 10/27/2012 11:31:27 AM
  • I'm surprised "Unreal" brand candy isn't listed. It's affordable, sold pretty much everywhere - CVS, Kroger, etc - and it's not got the chemical junk in it. They make a snicker's style bar, peanut butter cups, M&M type candy, etc - all without the chemicals and crap, and not real expensive. - 10/27/2012 9:52:04 AM
  • To keep things simple, just buy candy without the High Fructose Corn Syrup - send a message to the big companies that we don't want this in our food. I don't buy a lot of candy and I don't have trick-or-treaters but I bought some candy corn for my kids. I was surprised to find Kraft candy corn without High Fructose Corn Syrup. - 10/27/2012 9:46:31 AM
  • I find that some of these items are unreasonably expensive, while others are the same prices as the national brand candy I have been buying for years. My concern is safety. The reasonably priced stuff looks like it is wrapped in foil, or paper twists. It's not going to be a good choice to give to trick-or-treaters if their parents just throw it out. I am planning to hit Trader Joe's this week anyway, so I will see what they have that is healthy and reasonably priced as well as being wrapped in tamper evident packaging. - 10/27/2012 9:32:08 AM
  • Thanks for the ideas! For me I only buy what I can afford to buy, and when I am out the pouch light gets shut off. The parents with younger children appreciate those healthier options, and that is usually who gets there earlier.$5 bucks really isn't a big deal one night a year in the long run, and if I have leftovers I won't feel guilty partaking in festivities. Those lollipops are the best I've ever had and my children would pass up a chocolate bar anyway for one of them!

    I also pop into the dollar store and grap a pack of Halloween pencils and spider rings to mix in with candy. Lots of kids chose tho instead of candy last year. - 10/27/2012 9:20:58 AM

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