No Tricks! Just Healthier Halloween Treats!

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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Member Comments

Thank you. Report
It's up to us to set the rules and standards... not the candy companies, not the diabetic pharmaceutical companies. Sugar causes neurological damage. This is a sad state of our American diet. I am not suggesting to hang up Halloween, or Christmas, or Valentines day or Birthdays, or Easter, or...............
. It's time to demand more. Halloween is the perfect day to show kids that we are an intelligent and creative race... not a lazy one that succumbs to the candy companies to entertain our kids.

Be a role model and be inventive. Collaborate on the ideas that will make this holiday even better and fun for all.... don't give me the "we are all going to die someday" remarks... we have a responsibility to be role models. We don't have to be boring and tasteless..... the only people that think eating healthy is boring and tasteless are those that have given up. Why suggest our kids should give up too? Report
It began with 100, then 200 and the last time we stayed home we had 300 kids in our street. They are brought in to town in Minivans and so we n o longer have trick or treat. Raised in UK we never had it. Now they are following the trend.
At first we gave nickel's and then dimes but giving anything less than a quarter and so many teens will scoff at that so we just gave up.
Pat in Maine. Report
All the comments about kids tossing stuff seems strange to me. I never went trick-or-treating as a child though the neighbor always gave me a small goody bag and it didn't matter what was in it, if it was candy I ate it. But when I did get candy (like at a convention or something) I'd portion it out and eat everything --- even if it was something I "didn't like" it was still candy, it just ended up being the last thing I ate... (liquorice salt water taffy anyone?).

Even as a 6 year old though, I took dark chocolate over hard candy any day. Report
if you talk to a dentist, all of those gummi things and fruit roll ups are aweful for your teeth. When my kids were young, thats the first thing he told me to avoid. Also, if you get alot of kids, that could get quite expensive. Remember, its once a yr. Let kids be kids! Report
Completely agree with Cute and Nerdy.

Leave the holidays alone and help create wonderful, lifelong memories. And don't turn it into a time when kids will 'roll their eyes'.

Practice good habits regularly, but don't go overboard. Report
It's one night a year, for goodness sake! Almost no child is going to be happy with a box of raisins, an organic lollipop, or some animal crackers. Report
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! Report
I just bought yummy earth lollipops last week for me:-) really taste good. Grandkids like them too! Report
I was really surprised to see the wonderful array of healthy candies available. Excellent! Report
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. Report
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. Report
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. Report
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! Report
Those would be great treats for health-conscious grown-ups but, except for the gummis, would not go over well in my neighborhood. Report


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.