Emily Beers, Manager of Social Mayhem
Lover of free speech, cookies and cynicism
First, a walk down Hallowe'en Memory Lane...
When I was a kid, I took Hallowe’en very seriously. Costume preparations started in August: The goal was always to win the most creative costume award. Then, as October 31st approached, my best friend and I would pull out our notes from the previous year, where we had a record of all the houses that gave out the full-sized chocolate bars. From there, we would draft our map of attack, which we hoped would maximize our candy collection: It ensured we would hit all the best houses and would avoid the ones that gave out granola bars, Wagons Wheels and Tootsie Rolls. Like I said, we were serious about Hallowe’en. Unfortunately, this also meant we were discerning about who we allowed to Trick-or-Treat with us. Our less athletic, slow-running friends, who clearly wouldn’t be able to keep up with our running stride, were immediately cut from the roster, as were those who didn’t show adequate enthusiasm for the day in general.
The result: We got a lot of candy!!
Though parents of my generation always knew sugar was bad for our teeth, we didn’t seem to prioritize nutrition as much when I grew up in the 1980s and 1990s—we were, after all, the generation where moms everywhere used Campbell’s mushroom soup as a sauce for everything—hence why we all lugged oversized pillow cases to Trick-or-Treat. Today, we’re living in the modern gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, most definitely Campbell’s Mushroom Soup-free era. Not to mention we have become more sensitive about allergies…What does this mean for today’s generation of Hallowe’en enthusiasts? It means half their candy might just get confiscated by their helicopter parents anyway, so it might be time to think outside the box when we consider what to give out this year. As a lifelong Hallowe’en lover, I almost can’t believe I’m even writing this, but it might be time we move away from all sugar all the time and toward some other options that kids will still approve of, but won’t murder their teeth or give them Type 2 Diabetes. Here’s my suggestion: Turn your candy basket this year into a basket of trinkets, where each child can choose his/her own “treat.”
10 Top Ideas that go beyond the sugar
Before you start thinking that Hallowe’en is about to cost you an arm and a leg, it won’t. Mini glider airplanes
are not expensive. They’re just under $10 for a 24-pack. If you normally give out two small Hallowe’en-sized candy bars to each child, you’ll spend about the same. Not only that, but they’re fun, kids love them and they promote being physical.
A pack of 50 for $50.
No kid of any age–or adult for that matter–would turn down a bouncy ball if offered. They’re timeless.
If you get some older 12 or 13-year-old Trick-or-Treaters, carabiners
are a great choice for them. Practical for all sorts of uses. A carabiner house would have been on my map as a 13-year-old, even being the candy and chocolate lover I was.
Similarly, a mini flashlight
is great for the “older” Trick-or-Treaters (and the younger ones, for that matter), and they are also surprisingly inexpensive: 20 for $24. Better yet, if you’re feeling extra generous, give out a flashlight on a carabiner and your house will be remembered by all who Trick-or-Treat at yours.
I would argue most 3-year-olds would be even more excited by the idea of blowing bubbles than a Mars bar. Hell, at 34, I probably would be, too.
5. Rings that light up:
Similar to bubbles, a ring
the child can put on his/her finger that lights up as he makes his rounds Trick-or-Treating will be much more memorable than that bag of chips your next door neighbour is handing out.
I offered my 4-year-old niece the option of a pumpkin tattoo or a Kit Kat bar, and she looked at me like I was crazy, before grabbing the tattoo so fast with a huge smile on her face.
3. Mini Playdough:
See above. Pretty sure my 4-year-old niece would choose playdough over a lollipop if given the choice.
Say no more: Slap bracelets are back!
While I don’t understand the fidget spinner
generation, they seem to be popular among kids of all ages, and you can buy mini ones for not much more than 50 cents each.
Here’s an experiment: Have a bowl of candy and a bowl of trinkets this year, and let the children select candy treat versus healthy treat.. Report back!