Top 5 Halloween Candy Alternatives: For ALL Kids’ Special Needs

Last updated on August 29th, 2015 at 08:20 pm

Childhood obesity is now called an epidemic, and many special needs kids have very specific dietary needs so lots of parents and caregivers, not to mention dentists, cringe at the idea of a pillowcase filled with candy on Halloween. There are a growing number of children who have medical conditions, dietary restrictions and/or whose caregivers take a radical anti-sugar or organic approach to life, so non-candy offerings can really help these little ones (and not-so-little ones) enjoy the holiday, too. Many times I see the ghouls and goblins that darken my doorstep getting even more excited about the non-candy treats I pass out than if I were to give them yet another pumpkin-shaped confection or lollipop. I’m happy to say that more and more alternatives to candy are appearing in stores and in my kids’ Halloween haul. Here are some ideas for non-candy Halloween treats. Take a stroll down your local store aisles for even more possibilities.

Top 5 Halloween Candy Alternatives

1. Pencils – most school districts are struggling with budget cuts and lack of funding. Halloween or other themed pencils are inexpensive and can be used to add interest to long school days and even longer homework assignments. Look for pencils decorated with cartoon characters, sparkly glitter, space aliens, sports teams and much more. Again, pencils can be bought in packages meant for party favors or even in bulk from party stores and office supply shops. Small note pads, erasers, activity and coloring books and crayons are also great ideas.

2. Trading Cards – whether it’s good old-fashioned baseball cards or one of the current trendy card lines like Ninjago for boys or Hello Kitty for girls, a pack of trading cards has a lot of possibilities inside that small package. Some trading card battle games even help kids practice math, memory and classification skills, which is certainly sweet. Small decks of playing cards or card games are also available in packs of party favors and offer long-term play value instead of a quick sugar rush.

3. Glow sticks, bracelets and necklaces are great for safety on a dark and spooky night of trick-or-treating, and they also make kids feel like they are at a theme park or concert. But they have lots of fun uses inside, too – they light up blanket forts and look great inside carved jack-o-lanterns.

4. Bubbles – you might think bubbles only appeal to the younger set but I’ve seen plenty of teenagers have a blast blowing these around and at each other. It’s also a favorite pre-concert and nightclub activity, making tweens feel a bit like the big kids. Pets love to chase them, too!

5. Temporary tattoos – you can find these in Halloween designs, superheroes, princesses, glow-in-the-dark, encouraging sayings and much more. Glitter tattoos are a big fad right now, and nothing says fun like glitter!

Honorable mention: Stickers – kids love to cover themselves (and their clothes, books and backpacks) in these, which is why doctors, dentists and teachers always use them as rewards.

Frugal Tip: Throughout the year I save small goody bag items that my kids have received but don’t like and put them in a box. Sometimes those restaurant packs of crayons remain unopened, so they go in the box, too. By Halloween I have a nice stash to share with my costumed holiday visitors.

As you can see, you really do have many alternative choices instead of candy this treat-or-treat season – this list is only the beginning. Small craft kits, party packs of modeling clay, rubber bracelets, glow sticks, stamps, bookmarks, and key chains….the list just might be endless and is limited only by your imagination.

Happy Halloween!

About the Author

Rosie Reeves is a writer and mother of three; including one with special needs. She works side-by-side with her daughter’s therapists, teachers and doctors. Rosie has also served as the Los Angeles Special Needs Kids Examiner. She can be reached at rosie327@aol.com.Rosie is a member of the PedSafe Expert team

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