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Halloween, Valentine's Day, and Parade Solutions for Kids Who Can't Have Candy

Updated on October 30, 2013
Candy! | Source

Children Who Can't Have Sugar

My 3 year old son is on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and can’t eat sugar. A boy in my daughter’s kindergarten class is diabetic and has serious limitations on the amount of carbohydrates (read: sugars) he can eat. Another friend of mine can’t have anything with food coloring in it; she sadly misses out on the joys of things like Skittles and those addictive candy pumpkins – more on her later. Candy is hard on kids with braces. Sugary candy is also hard on normal kids who should be sleeping at night instead of bouncing off the walls! So, no matter who you are, I’m guessing there is a child in your life that could benefit from an alternative to the mountains of candy consumed on these holidays!

Last Year's Mistake:

I didn’t get rid of the candy after I bought it from the kids. This year I am sending it to work with my husband. Last year I kept it in a bag on a high shelf in the kitchen. My daughter asked about it often because she could see it, and I think she regretted her decision to sell it to us because she chose not to sell us her 4th of July parade candy. Live and learn.

Solution #1: Bribe Them With Something Else

We buy our son’s candy, and he gets to pick out something fun from the store with the earnings from his candy. After he finishes trick-or-treating, we help him count his candy. He gets a quarter for each piece. And when he starts getting more than 30-40 pieces of candy, I will reduce his earnings to a dime for each piece of candy :). This has worked out so well! The toy he picks out lasts much longer than the candy would have. Also, he still loves taking part in a holiday that would otherwise ostracize him. Last Halloween his sister also chose to sell us her candy.

Don't Want to Give Your Kids Cash?

Give them another incentive:

  • Let them choose the movie or game for the next family night
  • Let them choose what Mom/Dad will have to wear all day on Saturday. Dad's tie as Mom's hair bow? Purple fingernail polish on Dad? Ideas are limitless.
  • Let them throw a cream pie at Dad (while Mom takes pictures :))
  • Let them choose a “date” with Mom/Dad. For inexpensive or free ideas see this.
  • Let them have a post-Halloween sleepover (send their candy home with their friends as a party favor!)
  • If you have other creative ideas, please share them in the comments.

Halloween Hand Outs

What Will You Give Your Trick-or-Treaters?

See results

Solution #2: The Switch Witch

I ran across a reference to this poem today on a TV show. I LOVE it!! Unfortunately, it won’t work for us because we have already instituted buy-whatever-toy-you-want-with-your-candy-earnings. Here’s the poem (and the link where I found it):

The Switch Witch

Have you heard of the Switch Witch,
who loves Halloween?
She comes for the leftover candy
after trick-or-treating!

She's the nicest - but sneakiest -
witch of her kind,
she swipes up candies and sweets
and leaves presents behind!

She swoops from doorstep to doorstep
on a long violet broom -
her black cat rides on the back
since there's plenty of room.

She's keeps all her magic
in her tall skinny hat.
She trades you - and then - she flies off!
Just like that!

So take your leftover candy
- set it out by the door
and in the morning you'll find
what she traded you for!

The “witch” takes the candy in the night and trades it for something she knows her daughters will love – books, fun socks, stickers, etc. I think this is a brilliant idea. Although, my daughter is deathly afraid of witches, so teaching her that one is coming to take her candy and leave her a gift is another reason we won’t be implementing this idea.

Solution #3: Swap Candy for Candy

I mentioned earlier that my friend can’t have food coloring. When she was little, her parents bought Hershey’s chocolates to give out on Halloween. This is one of the candies she was able to eat. When she came home from trick-or-treating, she would trade any of the candy she received for a Hershey’s bar. The candy she got from neighbors immediately went into the bowl to be distributed to future trick-or-treaters. Win-win.

For Health Conscious Neighbors Who Don’t Want to Hand Out Candy

This is becoming a trend, so I hope I’m not beating a dead horse here by adding in these ideas. If you don’t want to hand out candy, don’t! You have options!

  • Stickers. The ones on the roll are going to be the cheapest, you can just tear off one or two for each child who comes to the door. If you buy the sheets it is much harder to figure out how to distribute them.
  • Halloween pencils or erasers.
  • Glow sticks. A pack of 100 is $9.00 on Amazon. My kids LOVE these!

Casper the Banana
Casper the Banana | Source

We have the best neighbors ever. I’m not kidding. I’m not saying you should do what they did for us because it can either be expensive or time consuming. I’m basically just putting this in here to brag on our neighbors. One neighbor had treats for the unknown trick-or-treaters, but when my kids came she gave them each a stuffed toy from the dollar store. They were beyond excited. Another neighbor gave my son a banana with a decorated Kleenex on it that made him a ghost. I love them. They made our night.

Honeyed Almonds

Easy. Tasty. All-natural.
Easy. Tasty. All-natural. | Source

Sweet Alternative

To be honest, I don't think my son even cares if he gets sweets. I am the one who somehow thinks he is being deprived if he doesn't have something sweet to eat. Here is my new favorite:

Honeyed Almonds

2 C almonds

1/3 C honey

sea salt

Melt honey in a medium sized bowl for 10-15 seconds until it is runny. Stir in the almonds. Spread out on a parchment lined cookie sheet and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes, stir every 4-5 minutes so they don't burn. They will still be sticky. Let them cool completely, break them up and store them in an airtight container. This recipe basically came from hers.


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    • ExpectGreatThings profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Illinois

      Hi Teaches - It seems like every time I turn around I meet another family with allergies. Maybe someone should write a hub with a theory on why they are so prevalent these days! Thank you for reading, and I hope something works for your family. It makes me sad when people are excluded for not being able to eat something that none of us should be eating in the first place!

    • ExpectGreatThings profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Illinois

      "food for thought" - SimoniniKid - you make me smile :) Thanks for reading!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      6 years ago

      We have allergies in our family and have to avoid candy. Alternatives such as this would make up for not getting to enjoy the treats.

    • SimoniniKid profile image


      6 years ago from Beautiful Glen Ellyn, IL

      SO much "food" for thought about better ways to handle stuff like this!! Thanks!!

    • ExpectGreatThings profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Illinois

      Thanks for reading Jackie! That is interesting about your granddaughter. Usually it is the other way around...the grandparents GIVE the candy and then send them home! But I already knew you were a conscientious caregiver :)

    • ExpectGreatThings profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Illinois

      Bill, thanks for laughing and not judging me for bribing my kids! I considered writing something like "trade candy for something else valuable," but "bribing" is just more accurate :). Thanks for your encouragement!

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      6 years ago from the beautiful south

      Great article, and I am against the candy too. My granddaughter use to bounce off the walls when her mom would let us keep her and then two days after she was with us she was like a different kid. Sweet, nice.. quiet...

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I was laughing so hard after the first suggestion that I had a hard time finishing the article....BRIBE THEM! LOL

      Well done my friend. I am very grateful that I could eat candy when I was a kid. :) Take care, Ginger, and keep on writing.


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