Candy is dandy and all, but there are millions of kids who simply cannot eat it for health reasons. Instead of adding yet more sugar to an overflowing plastic pumpkin, why not be the house that hands out cool non-candy treats instead? Check out some of my favorites below. Then, keep reading for some fun candy exchange gifts for your own kids!
Candy-Free Treats for Trick-Or-Treaters and Halloween Parties
Whether you’re participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project for kids with allergies or just don’t want to give out candy on Halloween, I’ve got a treat for you…literally! Below are some of my favorite candy-free treats that definitely won’t disappoint (in other words, they won’t get your house added to the “egg on Mischief Night” list!). I included a mix of super-budget-friendly and slightly pricier items. Basically, some are perfect substitutes for fun-size candy bars while others are more along the “full-size candy bar” price range. All of them are perfect for trick-or-treaters or for Halloween party goody bags.
1. Halloween Bookmark Rulers
I love these little Halloween bookmarks because they also double as rulers! Plus, they’re super affordable (cheaper than candy, even). You get 144 of them and they’re made out of vinyl so they’ll definitely last a lot longer than a candy bar.
2. Glow in The Dark Bouncing Balls
These glow-in-the-dark bouncy balls are perfect for older kids! Just make sure you have something else set aside to give to the teeniest trick-or-treaters since they are a choking hazard for toddlers.
3. Rubber Bracelets Halloween Party Favors
At roughly $0.30 each, these are definitely pricier than your average fun-size candy bar, but they’re still quite affordable, especially if you only get a handful of trick-or-treaters every year. They’re made from silicone, so make sure you ask parents about any allergies to that material.
4. Halloween Make-a-face Sticker Sheets
These are a little pricier per piece than a lot of the other non-candy treats on this list, but I love that they encourage kids to be creative. If they’re a bit out of your trick-or-treat price range, you can also use them as fun little Halloween crafts for a party, or just for your own kids to do to get them excited about the holiday.
5. Spooky Light-Up LED Rings
These spooky flashing LED rings aren’t just fun candy-free treats, they also help keep kids more visible while they’re running from house to house gathering goodies. You get 54 pieces for about $0.22 each. Like the bouncy balls, they’re not really safe for toddlers. So again, consider grabbing something else to give out to your youngest visitors.
6. Fun Size Play-Doh Cans
When it comes to non-candy treats, you can almost never go wrong with Play-Doh! There are tons of party favor Play-Doh packs on Amazon, but I love this one because it has more unique colors.
By the way, if you’re having a Halloween party, you could adapt my DIY play dough bath soap to make your own fun take-home treats! Just swap out the food coloring that I used with purple, orange, or black colors.
7. Halloween Kawaii Squishies
For those who don’t already know, Kawaii means “cute” in Japanese, and these darling little squishies definitely fit the definition!
8. Stretchy Strings Sensory Treats
While pricier at nearly $0.50 each, these fun fall stress-relief toys are one of my favorites on this list. In fact, I’m thinking about buying a bunch just for me! I love that they’re made of non-toxic material. I mean, all toys should be, but I like when manufacturers specifically call that out. It makes me feel better about handing them out to kids.
9. Halloween Mini Pop Bubbles Keychains
I don’t think there’s a person on this planet who doesn’t love popping packing bubbles! Of course, those plastic sheets aren’t very eco-friendly. Plus, once you’re done, you’re done. These keychains, on the other hand, pop back up every time so kids get never-ending stress relieving fun!
10. Cute Punch Balloons
Punch balloons are a party-favor staple. I can’t think of a single party that I’ve gone to that didn’t include one in the goody bag! There are other Halloween punch balloons on Amazon, but these are the best deal overall in my opinion. They fall kind of in the mid-range. Think “snack-size” candy bar in terms of price.
11. Strictly Briks Halloween Mixture Trick or Treat Toys
Briks are kind of like LEGO’s, except not quite as pricey. I like these because each little treat bag contains everything kids need to make one Halloween-themed object (pumpkins, ghosts, and bats), but they also work with other Briks sets.
12. Halloween Coloring Books
If I had to pick just one candy-free treat from this list to give out, it would probably be these. I LOVE coloring books! There are 6 different books, and each one has 12 coloring pages (6 pages front and back). So even though they’re pricier than candy, kids get a lot more fun out of them than they would out of a piece of chocolate that’s gone in a second.
13. Spooky Pencils
Homework will never be fun, but at least it’s mildly less boring when you’re doing it with a fun pencil! These come in 10 different styles. You can grab a 100-pack or 200-pack. Go for the 200 because it brings the “per piece” down by 6 cents (13 vs 19).
14. Cute Halloween Sticker Sheets
Stickers are perfect for those on a tight budget. Kids always love them, but they cost pennies (and sometimes a fraction of a penny!) each. If you’re going to just hand then out individually, I recommend cutting the sheets up ahead of time.
15. Candy-Free Halloween Treats Assortment
If you usually buy a big assortment of candy, this is a great substitute. It comes with a ton of adorable little treats, including a little of almost everything I mentioned throughout the rest of this list.
Halloween Candy Exchange Ideas for Your Kids
If you dole out candy over the course of days, weeks, or even months, I have some news for you. Dentists actually recommend just letting your kids eat it all at once because excess sugar over time is worse than one giant helping of sugary snacks.
Now, I’m not saying you should let little Timmy eat 150 fun-size candy bars right before bed on Halloween! I mean, sure, the whole “sugar causes hyperactivity” thing has been pretty thoroughly debunked, but still…at the very least you’re going to end up with one pukey child!
So, I recommend a compromise. Decide how much candy you’re willing to let your kids eat. Then, trade them for the rest! If you make it worth their while, they won’t mind giving up their stash. With that in mind, here are some ideas, including some that don’t cost anything:
- Handmade coupons good for an hour of extra screen time. Make them up in 10-minute increments so they don’t have to use them all at once if they don’t want to.
- A pass to get out of chores for a day.
- A fun outing for the whole family (could be as simple as something like a family picnic and hike, or as elaborate as a day at a favorite theme park)
- A “you pick the movie” coupon that lets them decide what flick you’ll all watch on family movie night. You can have veto power, but only if they pick something that’s not appropriate. For example, you can veto The Exorcist, but NOT the 500th rewatch of Monsters Inc!
- A gift card to their favorite store ($10 is more than reasonable, I think).
- A new book!
- A fun craft kit
- LEGOs (you can never have enough of those, right?)
- A toy that they’ve been begging for.
Of course, you could always just buy back their candy with money and let them decide what they want to spend it on. Well, as long as they don’t decide to buy more candy with it, of course!
Kids don’t need candy to have fun on Halloween
If you think about it, 99.9% of the fun on Halloween is dressing up and going door-to-door. So, kids can still have a blast even if you decide to hand out candy-free treats! If you’re worried that you’ll end up spending a lot more money by going this route, don’t be. Like everything else these days, candy is more expensive than ever.
On top of that, Hershey warns that there will be a Halloween candy shortage this year, which means it’ll be even MORE costly! So really, in the long run, you’ll probably save money by switching to non-candy treats. You’ll definitely make a lot of kids with allergies happy, though, and that’s worth a lot more than the few bucks that you’ll save.
Last update on 2022-11-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API