In my youth (can I write that at 34? Gosh that’s indicative…like I am fully embracing that my youth is a bygone era…sheesh. Anyways, in my youth…) I had these big plans to be THE house for Halloween. You know what I am talking about: the house with the King Sized Candy Bars, the house everyone made a bee line for, THE IT HOUSE.
And then we had sweet Connor. Absolutely adorable in every way but allergic to 75 million things. I remember his first Halloween. It was crushing to walk him door-to-door only to have to take away each piece of candy he got. That Halloween I remember there was one house that was giving away rubber ducky toys instead of candy. That rubber ducky saved the day. And my whole vision for my own Halloween House changed.
Did you know 1 in 13 children is living with food allergies? Even more face food intolerances or other sensitivities
Besides allergies, there are many other reasons why candy might not be a good fit for kids.
- Food allergies
- Sensory processing challenges or food aversions
- Orthodonture or braces (although I sacrificed several brackets for Snickers in my day)
- Motor delays
- Childhood diabetes or other medical conditions
Bottom line, if you have the ability to get creative this Halloween, there are a lot of families who will appreciate your thoughtfulness.
Let’s dive in to my favorite non-edible trick or treat items
Idea #1: Lights!
Whether glow sticks, LED light-up tubes, finger lights, or other glowing toy, lights are a fun item kids of all ages can enjoy.
Our first year doing non-candy Halloween treats, we set out a plastic pumpkin full of glow sticks for the neighborhood kids. There were approximately 300 glow sticks and about half of them were taken, so I’d call that a win! Budget-wise, you can’t beat the value of glow sticks. This listing from Amazon has 400 glow sticks for $30. And it comes with the connectors to make them into bracelets and necklaces.
We bought a pack of these LED foam sticks for Connor and his friends last year, and they were a HUGE hit. They are made of soft foam and come with a long-lasting battery. We still have working ones over a year later! They come out to be $1.80 a piece which is more expensive than glow sticks, but not terrible for small batch prizes.
We’ve never purchased these, but I think these finger lights would be so fun for a Halloween treat. They come in a pack of 40 for $9.99 which makes them super affordable. I do worry about little kids trying to eat the rubber bands though (cough cough…because my own kid would try that), but they would be fun for older kids.
Finally, these LED ring lights get really high reviews. They come in a pack of 18 for $10, making them just over 50 cents per ring.
Idea #2: Halloween Trinkets!
Spider rings, monster fingers, vampire teeth, and stickers are all great bucket fillers that kids of all ages can enjoy. The best place to find these is without a doubt Oriental Trading Company. I’ve made a collage of my favorites below. Each item is less than a dollar a piece. Just click on the image to shop.
PS. Target has a bunch of inexpensive Halloween trinkets too! Check their app for deep discounts
Idea #3: Bubbles!
Bubbles are a hit for every holiday. Grab them in bulk and set them under a bubble machine to complete the party.
You can find bubbles in just about any store with a party section, but I like these bulk packages from Target. This pack has 8 bubbles for $1. And this one has 24 larger containers for only $5. I know these bubble necklaces aren’t strictly Halloween themed, but I think kids would love them. Plus they come 12 for $5.
Idea #4: Rubber Ducky!
The idea that started it all for me… rubber ducky toys!
This pack from Oriental Trading is Halloween themed and comes with 50 ducks per pack for $30. This set from Amazon features the original rubber ducky look with 50 ducks for only $12. And this set has GLOW IN THE DARK Rubber Ducky toys!
I hope this list gave you lots of ideas for non-food trick-or-treat items. There is still room for traditional candy, but a few homes offering rubbery ducky toys or glow sticks would be a special treat (pun intended) for lots of families.
You can read more about the Teal Pumpkin Project and their mission to make Halloween more accessible to kids with food allergies here.