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Healthy for Halloween?

We finally moved to a neighborhood where kids actually trick-or-treat. There's a Halloween parade and people decorate their houses. So I want to stock up on goodies. Husband is lobbying for the traditional snickers bars and such but I wanted to do a higher quality, somewhat healthier option. Went to Whole Foods. They have a very limited selection and YIKES - the prices! $2-3 per piece. I don't want to do home-made because people are understandably nervous about things that aren't solidly wrapped.

Any ideas?

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    1. Go savory. Annie's Cheddar Bunny Snack Packs. Or individual snack packets of pretzels. You could also do those peanut butter cracker sandwich packs.

      Or. Boxes of animal cookies. If you can find individually shrink-wrapped boxed of raisins. I haven't found any "mini-boxes" that are shrink-wrapped, but the regular snack sizes often are.

      Except for the raisins, these might all be a little bit pricier than the average Halloween candy, but hopefully not budget-busting.

      I'll be giving out something like this this year because they are also pretty toddler-friendly and we expect all of our toddler friends to stop by.

      ~TDQ

      8 Replies
      1. re: The Dairy Queen

        Animal crackers! Great idea. Personally, I'd love to give raisins or craisins but I know that the kids will always hate me for it. Maybe I can give them yoghurt-covered raisins or yoghurt-covered pretzels, if I can find small, individual packets. I had been thinking of M&M with almonds or sugared almonds - again, if I can find small packets. Except I am nervous about giving out nuts, in case some kid with an allergy manages to eat one before the parents can weed out the stuff they aren't supposed to eat.

        1. re: Just Visiting

          Pretty much all candy is made in plants that could contain trace nuts. If you give them out they will be easily identified. My cousin can't even have plain M and Ms.

          1. re: Just Visiting

            My kid has a nut allergy, so she will probably never do the trick or treating thing. I feel awful but it's not worth her life or a fun evening in the ER

            1. re: autumm

              Can you let her trick or treat and then buy the candy off her to donate to a dentist who will send it to the troops? Then she can still get the experience of trick or treating? Sorry, I'm sure you've already thought through your options and decided this is the best approach. Don't mean to be second-guessing you at all.

              ~TDQ

              1. re: autumm

                Eh. We never went trick or treating (due to religious beliefs and my horrendous fear of all things scary) and didn't miss out. I wouldn't feel bad about it. There are all sorts of fun fall activities you can do instead.

                1. re: autumm

                  It is still possible to do Trick or Treat for UNICEF http://www.trickortreatforunicef.org/

                  My kids liked this a lot. When my daughter was in junior high, too old for trick or treating, she got one of the school clubs to sponsor a trick or treat for the local homeless shelter. They filled a whole truck with canned goods, and got to dress up besides!

                  1. re: DebinIndiana

                    I love the trick or treat for a shelter idea-I bet you could amass a ton of stuff. And it would be fun for those jr high/high school kids who still want to dress up. I work in a high school 1 day/week and I think I'm going to share this.

                    1. re: ErnieD

                      You are right -- it was great fun for the big kids to have an excuse to dress up like the little kids, and they did get a ton (maybe literally -- can't remember) of stuff. Got their pictures in the paper, too, loading the truck in costume.

                      This idea, or the trick or treat for UNICEF, seems like a natural for a middle or high school service club.

                      Two hints: They passed out fliers ahead of time, so that people would have an idea what they were doing, but there was still a lot of explaining to do.
                      Also, you HAVE to take a wagon and a car into which you unload the wagon. Canned goods are HEAVY!

                      and, bonus: most people who dug out a can or two also insisted that the kids take some candy for themselves. A lot of that went to the shelter, too, but the kids got to pig out on some.

            2. You might be fighting a losing battle. Halloween is all about the snickers etc....I still remember the houses that gave out apples, peanuts and yikes raisins. They all went in the garbage.

              13 Replies
              1. re: Gloriaa

                Agreed. Trick or treating is not about quality or healthy or wholesome or all natural. The raisins and such didn't get eaten when I was a kid and they probably still don't. Even if you could afford large quantities of the candies at Whole Foods, the kids might not appreciate those either (although their parents may enjoy them). My goddaughters don't like the fair trade organic 70-80% chocolate I buy at WF - not sweet enough.

                1. re: Gloriaa

                  me, too. It's one night a year, and you're not their mother -- their mom (or other adult) is responsible for deciding what they eat and when. Let' 'em have their fun.

                  At our house, Halloween candy is popular for about three days -- I chuck anything that hasn't been eaten at Christmas -- most of the bucket, actually.

                  I was never involved, but it wasn't unusual for the houses giving "healthy" treats to end up bearing the brunt of the egging, soaping, and TPing when I was growing up.

                  The guy in my neighborhood now who sits at the end of his driveway (stay off my lawn!) and gives out toothbrushes just gets ignored.

                  1. re: Gloriaa

                    Halloween is only about the snickers because apparently we have collectively bought into that, even those of us who apparently feel we should give something else. (Personally, I've always thought Halloween was about the costumes...) What if we collecting decided to stop giving junk and instead, gave out something really good? Sure, we'd have to spend more, but maybe the focus would shift to quality rather than quantity, but it might just be something you'd make room for in the family budget. But, if everyone was doing it, you'd feel okay about it instead of feeling like the chump who is giving out something good and getting back only garbage?

                    My toddler would be delighted to get raisins--he loves them. I, on the other hand, can't stand them.

                    We stopped eating any chocolate other than fair trade chocolate about two years ago when CNN did a piece on it for its Freedom project. When my child reaches the age where everyone wants the snickers, we may have to figure something else out. Either dig deeper in our pockets financially for good chocolate or something else. But, I don't think we should have to take a break from teaching and modeling family values just because it's Halloween. But doing it without your child feeling like the weirdo on the block is the challenge of course. And still have it be fun, too.

                    When I was young, a woman on our block, a blind widow, gave pomegranates from her tree. We hated it because it wasn't candy, even though we knew it was all she had to give and even though I actually loved pomegranates. My parents used to buy them off of us, the same way they bought off of us anything that was homemade or looked like the wrapper was torn or tampered with. So, I do worry about being "that house", but I'll tell you what, it made an impression on me that I've never forgotten. I don't know, maybe it's not so bad to make an impression if you do it right and for the important enough reasons. Plus, it seems strange to abandon your values because you're afraid of what the neighborhood children might think of you.

                    ~TDQ

                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                      What's your definition of good? I think this is the inherent issue with this question. What's healthy? Is it ingredients, sugar content, sourcing, etc? To me raisins aren't really something healthy I'd go around popping, small balls of sugar.

                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                        Well, everyone has to define what "good" is for themselves, of course. For me good means that harvest and production doesn't rely on child slave labor (but I don't believe this is at all what the OP meant by "healthier" by the way), and that it also tastes good. It would be great it were also affordable. And didn't contain any transfats. I don't know what the OP thinks is good. But I think most of us who post on Chowhound would probably agree that Snickers isn't "good" chocolate, though, obviously, enough people love it that remains a every popular candy year in and year out.

                        I know everyone keeps saying "It's only one night." No, it really isn't. One year my brother and I had Halloween candy well into Easter. And, yes, you can trade your kids for the candy, but don't you deep in your heart wish you didn't have to sort out the crappy artiificial dye and transfat candy just the same as you wish you didn't have to sort out the razor blade candy?

                        But, to say that it Halloween has to be about Snickers because that's what the kids want just sounds defeatist to me. When did it become mandatory to distribute chocolate, and not just any chocolate, but certain actual name-branded chocolate? And when did Halloween become only about candy rather than carving pumpkins and making costumes and building haunted houses and other ghoulish fall activities?

                        Raisins in those tiny little boxes (the mini boxes, about an inch tall) don't seem to trigger a total sugar melt-down in my toddler the same way as, say, the lollipop (of which he only ate half) the cashier at our local grocery gave him the other day. And my toddler loves them (raisins). Let me reiterate, raisins are one of only two foods I absolutely despise and refuse to eat, so this is not my personal preference. But, for my toddler, I'd also be fine with some crackers that don't have transfats in them. Or small cookies that aren't too sugary. But, to be honest, this entire paragraph is oriented to my toddler-aged child. I don't honestly think people should be buying their Halloween candy with toddlers in mind. I think older kids are really the target audience we should all be keeping in mind.

                        ~TDQ

                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                          Well, yes but my point is that OP should probably specify so to what their definition of "healthy" is. Sign me up for the pumpkin carving and hay rides btw, great point! I used to count the days for our annual trip to the Maize Maze.

                              1. re: fldhkybnva

                                You are right. I hate when people write super-vague posts (Hi, where should I have dinner in your city?) and then I do it myself. Apologies! I meant less sugary, no HFCS, better quality ingredients, and basically, better choices. I've been googling and not coming up with much. I did find some ideas that hit some of the criteria. For instance, a 100 Grand Bar has 90 fewer calories and 8g fat compared to 14g fat in a Snickers.
                                Granola bars (which in my view are just healthier junk food, but still, healthier, not perfect, is the goal).

                                Based on the number of google hits, it would seem I'm not the only one who is trying to find something better. The Unreal line and the TJ's organics seem like the way I will go.

                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                            also, fwiw, i don't believe that i MUST give out large portions of candy.
                            the kids are hitting up at least 7 houses each.
                            to me, this means that a VERY SMALL amount of candy should be adequate.
                            my goal is NOT to help keep them supplied with candy for a month.
                            each kid gets to pick out two SMALL pieces of candy: that's all.
                            the little kids are plenty pleased with this (the whole process of picking something out and taking your time to decide what you like best seems to resonate with them) as are their parents.
                            the older kids still come year after year, so they can't be totally displeased.
                            i've NEVER been "tricked"

                          2. re: Gloriaa

                            One year I ran out, so the older kids, who came later, got apples from an orchard expedition the previous week. I was apologetic but a couple of the tween girls SEEMED genuinely pleased. "Oh, apples!" delivered enthusiastically with no perceptible tinge of sarcasm.

                            1. re: greygarious

                              I would hope and expect that children would be gracious and polite to anyone generous enough to open their homes and gift them with anything. I could never convince my children that fruit was natures candy!

                            2. re: Gloriaa

                              Agreed. Halloween is for fun. The trick or treating is unabashedly for CANDY and junk. I remember going Trick or Treating with pillowcases. After the deed was done, we would convene at friends' homes and "trade" candy, throw out the stuff that wasn't in boxes or bags, and we would eat candy till we got sick of it.
                              We had a blast when we lived in Manhattan--the kids loved going trick or treating in apartment buildings. NY'ers LOVE to give great candy!!!!

                              1. Do you have access to "Unreal Candy" products? I am partial to their version of peanut MM's. They are now readily available at many big box retailers like Target and Stop & Shop.
                                http://getunreal.com

                                However as you found out at WF buying a better quality product is going to cost you more than your average mass market product. Places like Walmart, Target and national chain grocery stores buy that kind of Halloween candy in bulk and use it as a loss leader to get in you in the door.

                                Halloween happens once a year and it's not up to you to regulate the quality of candy a kids eats-it's the parents. If the parents don't want them eating "junk" they will either stay home or work out some kind of post Halloween deal with their kids. So if "better" candy is a budget buster for you buy what you can afford and let the parents deal with the aftermath.

                                21 Replies
                                1. re: foodieX2

                                  Never heard of it but just looked it up. Sounds like a good option. Thanks!

                                  1. re: foodieX2

                                    That unreal candy sounds great! Not only does it not have the GMOs and corn syrup, but they are trying to avoid the whole child-slave-labor problem.
                                    My rough unscientific comparison by looking on Amazon seems to indicate that it's typically about twice, sometimes three times, the price of the national branded candy. That's not a deal-breaker for me, I don't think. I might try this this year!

                                    I wonder if I could buy some samples and hand them out to my neighbors in advance of Halloween this year and see how many converts I could get? Too nanny'ish?

                                    In any case, thank you for point this out.

                                    Per Amazon, Unreal Chocolate Caramel Nougat Bar, if you buy the 7.76 ounces (which is 10 22 gram candies of the same sizes as a Milky Way "Mini" ) is $0.64 per ounce vs. Milky Way FUN SIZE (I can't find a price on Milky Way Minis) which is .36 per ounce. So, almost double the price, for a close, but not perfectly comparable product.

                                    http://www.amazon.com/UNREAL-Candy-Ch...

                                    http://www.amazon.com/Milky-Way-Size-...

                                    Their peanut butter cups are .46 per piece vs. Reeces Peanut Butter Cup "minis" which are .16 per piece, so almost three times the cost.

                                    http://www.amazon.com/UNREAL-Candy-Pe...

                                    http://www.amazon.com/Reeses-Miniatur...

                                    And their Candy Coated Chocolate Peanuts are $1.45 per 1.5 ounce bag vs. Peanut M&M's which are .74 cents per 1.74 ounce bag, so almost twice the price.

                                    http://www.amazon.com/Unreal-Candy-Co...

                                    http://www.amazon.com/Peanut-Chocolat...

                                    ~TDQ

                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                      HAHAHA! So, I just asked my husband if I could order some of these Unreal candies and let some of our close neighbors try them in advance of halloween. His eyes got really big. He didn't even have to say no. He said, "Let them find out because their kids come home with it." And I said, "But, what if they don't have kids?" And he said, "If they are interested, they'll find out."

                                      And then he said, "Kids want Snickers and Reese's. They don't want hippy candy."

                                      *sigh*

                                      I might try the unreal candy anyway. If it tastes good, why not? Still will hand out raisins and bunny crackers for the little ones as I did last year.

                                      ~TDQ

                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                        I have to agree that kids want candy that they recognize, at least we did.

                                        1. re: salsailsa

                                          We did, too, as I mentioned in the story about the blind widow who gave out pomegranates. I totally get it. But there are still good, recognizable alternatives to non-fair-trade chocolate.

                                          Personally, for the big kids, I give Pearson's Salted Nut rolls fresh from the factory that is a couple of miles from my house. I love that salty-sweet-crunchy-chewy combo.

                                          I don't think they are especially healthy, which is why I didn't recommend it to the OP, but it's what I hand out. Ideally the minis so I can let the kids take a handful. If I hand out the big ones, I just drop one in each bag, which I don't think is as fun for them.

                                          But I really am going to investigate that unreal candy. If it doesn't taste good, I'm not going to hand it out. But, if it does, I might hand it out with the Salted Nut Rolls. The more people hand them out, the more it will be a candy kids recognize. If they are selling it at Target, it could really catch on.

                                          ~TDQ

                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                            I am munching on an Unreal peanut butter cup as I type this. Purchased yesterday at Target (2-pack). Pretty good. I'm not certain but I believe it was around $.89.

                                            1. re: Pwmfan

                                              Not bad, right? Where did you buy it, if you don't mind my asking?

                                              ~TDQ

                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                Target, in the regular candy aisle (not the Halloween section

                                                1. re: Pwmfan

                                                  Thanks! That's where I found it, too.

                                                  ~TDQ

                                    2. re: foodieX2

                                      If you take them out of the packaging, do they look like the name brand products they are supposed to be replacing? My co-workers are candy-crazy. I wonder if I could do a blind taste test on these?

                                      ~TDQ

                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                        They do look just like them except for the M&M's which don't have the telltale "M" on them.

                                        Our local Target and Stop and Shop have them and they are more expensive than the mass market brands but I didn't notice them being double-maybe it's the time of year? Halloween candy is *so* cheap right now!

                                        1. re: foodieX2

                                          I think it's because I looked up the prices on Amazon. I don't think you get the most competitive pricing on Amazon--it's really about convenience. I'm going to check out Target.

                                          ~TDQ

                                      2. re: foodieX2

                                        OK, here's the deal on the Unreal Candy, at least as it is at my local Target.

                                        First of all, it's stocked with the regular candy in the front, not the Halloween candy and costumes in the back.

                                        They carry 4 knock-off varieties in "bulk" packaging: peanut M&M's and plain M&Ms, not individually wrapped. And individually-wrapped Reese's Miniatures and Snickers Fun Size. They also carry single serving full-sizes of all of this, but that's not comparable to Halloween Candy, I don't think, so I'm not going to report on it.

                                        The price for $3.99 for all four if you got a bag of it. A bag size is typically somewhere between 6.3oz (for the Reeses Minis for instance, 12 pieces) -8.5oz (for the Snickers Fun Size for instance, 10 pieces). That prices the Reeses minis knock-offs at 33 cents a piece and the Snickers Fun Size knock-offs at 40 cents a piece.

                                        The Snickers Fun Size and Reeses Miniatures came in 11.18oz and 12 oz packs respectively. They are both normally $3.24 and are currently on sale for $2.89. (Oh, I just realized my Reese's -the actual Reese's, not the knock offs, are "Reese's Dark"--I don't know if that makes a difference in price or not. I don't think so.)

                                        So, it looks like you get less candy for a higher price with the knock-offs, which of course isn't surprising.

                                        If I'm doing this correctly, if you adjust for packaging size, the Reese's knock-offs are about 2.6 times the price by weight of the actual Reese's on sale (because I assume anyone buying Halloween candy is going to buy it on sale) and the Snicker's knockoffs are about 2 times the price of the actual Snickers on sale.

                                        If you open the bags and look at the way the candies are individually-wrapped, there is no way anyone could mistake one of the knock-offs for the real thing.

                                        The chocolate shell of the knock-off Reese's is thinner--it's a flatter candy. Also, no paper wrapping. The peanut butter is softer and overall, I think, it's a more peanut-buttery experience. I would eat these, no problem.

                                        RE: the Snickers vs. the knock-off, well I think I need to take a longer break after eating doing the Reese's comparison, but my immediate impression is that the Snicker's is a more compact candy somehow and that give's it a better texture. More peanuts in every bite, somehow. Still, I'd eat the knock-off.

                                        The knock-offs seem plenty sweet to me, by the way.

                                        I'll try to do some taste-testing with my co-workers later, but there's no way it could a blind taste test.

                                        I'll try to post photos tonight.

                                        ETA: one more thing, they didn't seem to have a lot of it. If you wanted to purchase enough of it to hand out to kids, you probably could, but you might have to buy out everything that's currently on the shelf. It's way up high--my guess is Unreal isn't paying a premium for shelf-space. Hopefully they have lots more in the back.

                                        Also, it's about a buck per pack cheaper at Target than it was on Amazon.

                                        ~TDQ

                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                          Thanks for conducting the reconnaissance mission, TDQ! Lots of options...

                                          1. re: ohmyyum

                                            Here's a guy who really seems to know his candy and comments not only on taste, texture and appearance, but also smell and meltability and so on.

                                            http://www.candyblog.net/blog/item/un...

                                            http://www.candyblog.net/blog/item/un...

                                            He gives the faux Snickers and faux Reese's PB cup both a 9 out of 10, which means he likes the Snicker's-knock-off better than I did.

                                            He does have a concern about the lack of transparency in their labeling and their use of inulin, a common "filler" he says. Apparently that's one way they are bringing fiber up and calories down.

                                            Also, you're entirely taking their word for it regarding fair treatment of workers (which was my #1 concern about mass-produced chocolate), they aren't fair trade certified.

                                            "UNREAL works closely with a broker to secure cacao from co-ops in Ecuador and Ghana. They said, “Our Brokers on the ground work with them daily to ensure the best quality of product and that people and planet are not being damaged in the process.” There is no third party certification for any of this, so it is not certified fair trade or sustainable but they did say that there is an auditing process by the buyers. "

                                            So, I guess it just depends on how much you trust a company run by a 16-year-old and his Venture Capitalist dad. I'm not sure I'm ready to dive in with this product yet. I might stick with my Pearson's Salted Nut rolls for the older kids.

                                            He gives the plain M&M knock-offs a 7 out of 10 (too bitter) and the peanut M&M knock-offs an 8 out of 10.

                                            http://www.candyblog.net/blog/item/un...

                                            ~TDQ

                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                              Love Candyblog but pretty sure Cybele is female.

                                              1. re: jadec

                                                HAHA! Thanks for that!

                                                ETA: she is in the same boat I am, btw:

                                                "Last year I gave out Unreal Candy, which is ethically sourced and uses natural ingredients. I’d like to find another chocolate candy that is certified (not using child slaves), but it’s hard to find candy items for kids that are well priced (we have about 40 kids visit) and also of actual interest to kids."

                                                http://www.candyblog.net/blog/item/ca...

                                                That's the crux of the problem, right:

                                                "well priced (we have about 40 kids visit) and also of actual interest to kids."

                                                Doesn't even really address the healthy aspect of the chocolate. I like what the quote from the this co-worker of a writer from Fortune: " 'I'm not eating it to be healthy. I just want some chocolate.'"

                                                http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2012/10/2...

                                                ~TDQ

                                          2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                            So, I decided not to taste test the candy with my co-workers. I have the bad feeling they would just be polite and/or undiscerning and merely say it was good out of their need to be unfailingly Minnesota nice.

                                            My husband tried both and said they were awful. "Our house will get egged for sure," he said. (For he record, our house has never been egged and I don't think it's a real threat at all, even though I've now brought it up twice in this thread.)

                                            Awful? I said. Well, he backed down and said the peanut butter cup was okay. But the Snickers thing he thought was really inferior and he cited the same thing I did, which was texture. There's something about the way they make Snickers that ensures there a peanut in every bite whereas in the Unreal candy the peanuts were distributed unevenly. He said, "It's like something your grandmother would make,"
                                            meaning a little random whereas there is nothing random about a Snickers bar.

                                            Anyway, in the end, he summarized his complaints as follows:

                                            1. Both use dark chocolate and neither of their analogs do (remember I tasted the Unreal peanut butter cup against Reese's dark accidentally, so I was probably less bothered by it.).
                                            2. Not sweet enough. He thought neither was sufficiently sweet overall and also specifically mentioned the peanut butter filling not being sweet enough.
                                            3. Wrong texture on the "Snickers"

                                            And then we had a long conversation on other candies we thought were good at Halloween as kids--little boxes of Good & Plenty being his fav. Sugar Babies and Sugar Daddies being my fav. Do they even make those anymore? (ETA: and wow, how time has marched on, the first few hits when you google sugar babies. Best to Google sugar babies candy. And, yes, the same company that makes tootsie rolls still makes sugar babies.)

                                            I think if I were going to give these away, I'd give away the peanut butter cups. As it is, I'm going to give away all of the candy from my taste test, conventional and Unreal, then the Pearson's Salted Nut Rolls (my husband endorses this saying he believes the kids will find it a desirable candy and at least I know I will be supporting a local business and people with nice union jobs) and toddler snacks. If any big kids wanted Annie's Bunny Crackers, I wouldn't stop them. Can't imagine they would want the raisins or apple sauce though the toddlers went wild for them last year.

                                            I might consider handing out rice krispie bars for the gluten free kids, but I'm not really sold on that. I'm not aware of any children on the block who follow GF diet, and what are the odds otherwise? Besides, as folks have already mentioned, people keep their kids with food allergies away on Halloween.

                                            ~TDQ

                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                              I thought Unreal candy bars were nasty.
                                              And yes, I would recommend giving out the traditional stuff or nothing at all.

                                            2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                              For what it's worth, Unreal Candy pics, two of the display at Target and two of the candy vs. its analogue, wrapped and unwrapped.

                                              ~TDQ

                                               
                                               
                                               
                                               
                                          3. Yummy Earth Organic Lollipops or Yummy Earth Gummy Bears--they have them at WHF, Target, Meijer, now Walgreens too. It is still sugar, obviously, but they are tasty.

                                            http://yummyearth.com/

                                            1. Welches fruit snacks. Kids I know like them.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: SaraAshley

                                                Yup, and you can get a big box at Costco.

                                              2. JustV, if you have a Aldi store nearby they are ideal for quantity buying. This week I stopped in and bought "chocolate library" stacks, German chocolates, six to a 'library' for 1.69. I broke the packs down into a Halloween bowl of goodness.

                                                I also found brand name candies, individually wrapped for half the price at Aldi.

                                                1. Small bags of Amy's Kettlecorn (20 bags for $6.99 at Target).
                                                  Leans healthy but not objectionably so.

                                                  1. Don't Shop at Whole Paycheck to start.

                                                    1. I threatened to give out scarrots one year:

                                                      http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releas...

                                                      Target has Halloween trick-or-treat packs of pretzels and microwave popcorn. They also have trick-or-treat packs of fruit snacks and fruit roll ups, although I think those just appear to be healthier than candy. How about sugarless gum?

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: Tara57

                                                        These would be great for all the teenagers who trick or treat without costumes and are rude and ungracious!

                                                        1. re: Gloriaa

                                                          No way. Those are the ones who come back and TP your house and egg your cars.

                                                          ~TDQ

                                                          1. re: Gloriaa

                                                            I always make those kids say "trick or treat". I tell them if you've got the nerve to ring my doorbell at their age w/o a costume they have to have the nerve to at least say "trick or treat". lol

                                                            I haven't been toilet papered yet... knock on wood. ;)

                                                            Oh, and as for a somewhat healthy treat... I have a neighbor who rents a popcorn machine every year and pops popcorn in his driveway and hands out mini bags of it. All the kids, big and small, love it and it's one of the hottest attractions in the 'hood on Halloween.

                                                        2. When kids around here were young enough to make the rounds, I put one of the return address stickers that charities are always sending with their solicitation letters into or on each bag of homemade treats. I pointed this out to the kids and asked them to have their parents call me if they had any concerns or questions. Never got a call.....I hope it's because they figured that since the source was identifying herself, there was no danger, rather than that they tossed the contents.

                                                          4 Replies
                                                          1. re: greygarious

                                                            What we did was gave out homemade stuff to the kids we knew, and commercial candy to the other kids that showed up. I remember getting homemade treats as kid myself and I miss that sense of community trust that is lacking in so many places now days.

                                                            My kids are adults and we have moved since they were kids so we don't have that same community connection where we are now.

                                                            1. re: greygarious

                                                              I remember wonderful homemade treats from Halloweens past -- thirty five years ago -- popcorn balls, candied apples, loose buttered and salted popcorn in a brown paper lunch bag.

                                                              1. re: Tara57

                                                                This was, of course, the best stuff. Sad we can't do that anymore.

                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                1. re: Tara57

                                                                  Me too, my mom made all that stuff, she was big into candy making. At Easter we got homemade candy eggs with some sort of buttercream filling and covered in chocolate. Hmmm I may have to ask for that recipe.

                                                              2. oh man, I remember one house that gave out toothbrushes. Seriously.

                                                                Your choices are, throwing away your money and giving out stuff that kids won't eat but you feel good about, not giving out anything or joining in the fun and taking the opportunity to be the house the kids remember for the good stuff they got.

                                                                Your choice.

                                                                9 Replies
                                                                1. re: rasputina

                                                                  I think the other choice can be to spend more money.

                                                                  ~TDQ

                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                    but that's not always a viable choice, especially after five years of pretty crappy economic times.

                                                                    Money is not the answer, either.

                                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                                      Spending more is not always a viable choice for everyone, I agree. But for those who have the means, it certainly might be. We have artificially reduced food prices in this country often because we've settle for food made with cheap, inferior ingredients or because the food we eat doesn't bear the full social cost of producing the food. If you want better food, you might have to pay more, if you can.

                                                                      The OP mentioned cost as a consideration, but she didn't say she wasn't willing to spend more. Just that she couldn't spend $2-$3 per piece, which, frankly, I wouldn't spend either.

                                                                      But, this is the same conversation you and I often have, so I won't belabor it here.

                                                                      ~TDQ

                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                        Please don't attach the quality of someone's character, their intelligence, or their eating habits to the depth of their wallet.

                                                                        Money doesn't buy social conscience, health, or character.

                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                          As consumers, we sometimes vote with our wallets.

                                                                          ~TDQ

                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                            It would be interesting to see what your vote would be if you were stuck with the wallet that many folks are stuck with.

                                                                            Money and conscience do not go hand in hand, any more than money and health, or money and intelligence, or money and character.

                                                                            The National Retail Federation (http://www.nrf.com/modules.php?name=N...) says that the average spend for the holiday this year will be $75.03 -- that includes décor, costumes, candy and fun, according to the article.

                                                                            that doesn't go very far when you have a couple of kids who really enjoy the holiday. Price out your socially conscious (and high-profit) candy and subtract it from that amount -- not much left over for anything else.

                                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                                              When my wallet has been that tight I a) didn't shop at Whole Foods (I don't shop there now, either, unless I need something very specific) and b) didn't give out chocolate, "socially conscious" or otherwise, as Halloween candy.

                                                                              In fact, those are the years where we didn't stay home and give out candy. Instead, we turned out the lights and found a Halloween party at a local community center where treats and activities were free or a nominal charge.

                                                                              Halloween decor at our house, in good times and bad, is pumpkins for the porch, a few hanging bats and ghosts for the windows, an articulated skeleton for the door, and --if we're feeling ambitious-- a web with plastic spiders for the entryway.

                                                                              We've accumulated our decorations over the years and occasionally supplement with what we find on sale in November or what the grandmothers send. (How many of those articulated skeletons does a household really need? Ours is probably 20 years old.)

                                                                              I do really like those pumpkin carving kits they sell these days, but we buy them on sale after Halloween and re-use them a couple of times. And a couple of tea candles for the pumpkins.

                                                                              Pumpkins have actually gotten shockingly expensive. If I had several kids, I imagine that could be the highest ticket expenditure as I'd want each child to have one to decorate. Most of the time, though, grandpa saves his best ones from his garden for us and we are lucky to not have to spend anything on pumpkins.

                                                                              Also, as I mentioned previously, Halloween in our family is less about candy and more about designing our costumes, almost to the point of being competitive about it. We are similarly "serious" about pumpkin carving. And pumpkin seeds must be toasted. And popcorn balls must be made!

                                                                              We fashion our costumes from what we can combine from the second hand store, our closets, and our imaginations. Our toddler's costume this year: $12 hat + plaid shirt from closet+jeans from closet+cardboard banjo. Last years costume: $9 firehat+ $12 vintage fireman's coat purchased from the second hand store that became his raincoat+ rainboots wrapped in black electrical tape. Hardly super creative, but in a pinch or if I had a lot of kids and money were super tight, I could also pull together baseball player, football player, hockey player, recycling man (he's obsessed with the recycling truck), chef or fisherman with no cash outlay at all. Construction man, robot. Not to mention the myriad of costume possibilities a brown paper grocery bag and a roll of aluminum foil presents.

                                                                              I purchased the pumpkin "bucket" he carries for trick or treating at a garage sale two years for about a dollar. I do always insist on new batteries for the flashlight, so I guess you can tack $6-$8 on there.

                                                                              So, $12 hat+ $2 tea candles+$8 batteries+$3 popcorn leaves me a good $50 to spend on treats (though I can't actually imagine spending that much--maybe I need to refresh myself on what candy actually costs) and still be merely average for halloween expenditures.

                                                                              We'll have a bowl of raisins+bunny crackers packets+squeezy applesauce for our toddler guests--what's leftover will go into our snack stash.

                                                                              I will seriously investigate the Unreal candy for the big kids. Otherwise, it's going to be Pearson's Salted Nut rolls fresh from the factory that is a few miles from my house. Nothing will be leftover because when we're tired of handing out candy, we'll blow out the pumpkins and leave the bowl on the porch. The candy is always gone by morning. Blame the squirrels.

                                                                              ~TDQ

                                                                  2. re: rasputina

                                                                    P.S. Toothbrushes are only okay if you're a dentist.

                                                                    Where my husband grew up, the town's retired doctor gave out full-sized candy bars. No minis or fun sizes or sweettarts and tootsie rolls (aka bad candy) and my husband has always remembered that. We have a friend who gives out full-sized candy bars because he wants all the kids on the block to love him (and they do). If you're willing and able to spend more, you can be the favorite house on the block.

                                                                    ~TDQ

                                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                      My dad was a dentist who gave out toothbrushes and either sugarless gum or chips. Mom thought it looked bad if we gave candy.

                                                                  3. I've seen individual packets of pretzels, animal crackers, and trail mix at big box stores that could be an option.
                                                                    Trader joes sells individual sized bags of kettle corn which would be delicious, they also sell fruit leathers.

                                                                    But honestly, i'm in the lets the kids eat real candy camp- their parents can be responsible for making sure they have a balanced diet....

                                                                    1. Oe year, when we ran out, we gave quarters, nickels, and dimes -- whatever change we had. Even the lttle kids are saving up for something.

                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                      1. re: nemo

                                                                        That's what we've do when we run out or forget--as long as it's not a bowlful of copper, the kids are usually pretty happy.

                                                                        You could go to the bank and get out some nice crisp $1 bills if you wanted this to be your actual plan

                                                                        ~TDQ

                                                                        1. re: nemo

                                                                          Is there no longer a Trick-or-Treat for Unicef campaign? That used to be popular for double-digit kids who were old enough to appreciate living in the first world.

                                                                          1. re: greygarious

                                                                            Oh yea, good memories, I loved my little Unicef box.

                                                                            1. re: greygarious

                                                                              Yes, there is -- I posted the link above (should read to the bottom FIRST...)

                                                                              http://www.trickortreatforunicef.org/

                                                                          2. When the kids got older and their numbers fell off, I started buying individual snack bags of popcorn, pretzels, Oreos, etc. Not healthy, but unlike candy, I would use what was left over as part of my brown-bag lunches at work. Supermarkets and warehouse clubs sell them in assortments of 30 bags.

                                                                            Trader Joe's has bags containing cellophane-wrapped 100-calorie packets of almonds, meant for school or work snacks. Maybe other nuts too, not sure. I like the 100-calorie packets (aggregated in a larger box) of Thinaddictives at Costco. They are biscotti sliced as thinly as melba toast, 3 pieces to a packet. Not overly sweet.

                                                                            Ask your neighbors how many kids to plan for. The first few years in my house, I kept a count and made a note of it, which I put into the box of Halloween decorations. Or you could jot it on your calendar on the December page, with a note to transfer it to the next year's calendar when you get one.

                                                                            1. Due to my daughter's nut allergies, we won't be participating in the candy go round.

                                                                              And I've been a home owner for 8 years now, we are scrooges who hide in the back with the lights off. I don't need to bring temptation into the house

                                                                              15 Replies
                                                                              1. re: autumm

                                                                                No one who knows you would judge you for that. Don't you miss seeing the kids in their cute costumes, though? I would totally hand something else out instead. Well, I already do anyway.

                                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                                1. re: autumm

                                                                                  We hide in the back with the lights out and eat all the Snickers I bought! In fairness, though, I should add that we don't get many legit kids due to being on a steep hill that leads to a steep staircase. Before we adopted this strategy, we'd get a few sixteen-year-olds in jeans with shopping bags in hand.

                                                                                  Not making light of the nut problem-- just responding to the "hiding" aspect.

                                                                                  1. re: monfrancisco

                                                                                    Ok I will say it, it drives me crazy when parents send out their children but they keep their house dark. It really detracts from the neighbourhood vibe. For the sake of the children, if you send your kids out then please give out candy.

                                                                                    1. re: Gloriaa

                                                                                      For the record, I don't have kids. And also for the record, "for the sake of the children" is a really off-putting phrase. Further, if you'll read my post you'll learn that we don't get many - or any - kids in the first place.

                                                                                      1. re: monfrancisco

                                                                                        I said that if you send your children out then I think it only right for you to give out candy. If you don't have children, if they have allergies and they don't go out, if they are too old then fine, hide- you don't owe anybody anything. I am just saying what every mother I know thinks. Please do not shoot the messenger.

                                                                                        1. re: Gloriaa

                                                                                          I was not shooting anyone. Nor do I think I owe anything. I was attempting to make a light-hearted remark about eating Snickers (a once-a-year treat for me!). Perhaps you didn't mean to respond to me in particular. Perhaps this will be deleted. Now I'll go back to thinking about Snickers!

                                                                                          1. re: Gloriaa

                                                                                            Single parents who walk their kids around should also be exempt.

                                                                                            Honestly live and let live.

                                                                                        2. re: Gloriaa

                                                                                          Since I didn't have kids, and my kid doesn't trick or treat, no guilt here. But if I did send her out, I would hand out treats too

                                                                                          1. re: autumm

                                                                                            Maybe I should be, but I'm not bothered if parents let their kids trick-or-treat but don't hand out candy.

                                                                                            First of all, I don't want anyone to feel obligated to give anything to my child (and neither do I want him to expect it) and, if they do, I want them to do it with joy, not grudgingly. Seriously, if the thought of my smiling toddler in costume on your doorstep doesn't absolutely delight you, shut off your porch light, close your curtains and enjoy your peaceful evening.

                                                                                            Maybe the parents are broke, or total introverts, or working late, or caring for a sick or elderly relative, or exhausted by life. Or, it's a single parent who can't be home to hand out candy because they are taking their kids around.

                                                                                            Whatever the parents' reason, I don't think the children should be denied. I hand out candy because love seeing all of the kids in their costumes. And I did it long before I was a parent and, therefore, long before I was getting anything tangible in return.

                                                                                            And there are many of our neighbors who are childless who happily hand out candy. It all balances out.

                                                                                            Do what works for you and feel no guilt.

                                                                                            ~TDQ

                                                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                              I am many years away from having my own children but I love giving out treats-- in fact, I wish more kids lived in my area. My own parents haven't had kids at home for many years but they similarly love having trick or treaters and go all out. I don't think it really has anything to do with whether you have kids or not. :-)

                                                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                Agreed. The kiddo I raised is way past the trick or treating age so it's just purely for funs now. We had one year when I was in grad school when we just could not afford the candy-we left the light off and now one came and it was fine. We keep threatening to bail on Halloween in general since we are young empty-nesters, but we like the kids to come my. And they get cheapo candy. I am a snotty free trade person for our personal consumption, but I feel like Halloween is a time when I can disregard that.

                                                                                                1. re: ErnieD

                                                                                                  We have, for the last half-dozen years, been "in the air," for Halloween. Our poor house-sitter gets the task, but we equip her with the "goodies." As we live up in the mountains, with few kids (now), she puts a basket on a stand that my wife picked up, and lets them help themselves. Our Bulldog hates that, as she loved the kids, but she'll get over it.

                                                                                                  Maybe I need to start handing out dental floss?

                                                                                                  Hunt

                                                                                          2. re: monfrancisco

                                                                                            We hide too. It's annoying when kids ring the bell when the lights are out. Fortunately, we live in a heavily Indian neighborhood so Halloween never really caught on.

                                                                                            1. re: monfrancisco

                                                                                              Our evenings tend to be busy enough that waiting for the bell to ring just doesn't seem appealing to me. I'm kind of anti- mass market holiday though. Don't get me started on valentine's day.

                                                                                              Also, my husband tends to have a conference he has to work at/be tech support at, so it's just me home with a toddler who can't eat most of the treats anyways. I guess I want her to learn that it's okay to not dress up and bring home a bag of treats for mommy to binge on later.

                                                                                              1. re: autumm

                                                                                                We aren't planning on going to every house on our block. Just the ones where we know people are expecting a toddler, likely because they also have a toddler. Last year, we went to one house. :) Exactly one. And she gave toddler friendly treats that she had set aside specifically for us. This year, we'll go to 3 or 4 houses, just so he can get the idea of trick or treating. I'm hoping the treats will be toddler friendly, but it is a lot to expect of people, that they will provide for toddlers AND older kids.

                                                                                                I guess we'll just have to see what we end up with and deal with it. Not especially looking forward to it, to be honest. I can already visualize the tantrum.

                                                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                                          3. If you're that worried, head over to www.orientaltrading.com (not a shill...

                                                                                            )

                                                                                            They have tons of stuff like glow necklaces and little toys (including some safe for the under-3 set).

                                                                                            One family in our neighborhood gave out squirt guns -- cheap and didn't last long, but were popular at the neighborhood party (wet costumes everywhere...)

                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                              Excellent advice! I was going to suggest the same thing. My kids are 8, 6, and 3 and loved these things last year: http://www.orientaltrading.com/mega-p...
                                                                                              As a matter of fact, they pulled them out again this year to set up with our Halloween decorations (ours are all Halloween figures, a cute little frankenstein, a pumpkin and a ghost). The candy (almost all of it) got chucked in the trash a week after Halloween, they were sick of looking at it.

                                                                                              1. Respectfully---don't cater to your own palate at Halloween. If you opt to give out treats, think of the kids and their tastes-it's a big night for them.. It's only for one night, and a traditional treat like a Snickers or a Reeses will be okay. It's up to their parents to monitor their candy/sugar intake 365 days a year, including Halloween, so leave that work to them.

                                                                                                1. Last year we gave mini play doughs from Costco. Kids liked it.

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. re: salsailsa

                                                                                                    We found those this year at BJ's and am looking forward to handing them out. Unused goes into the prize box at school.

                                                                                                  2. I agree $2-3 per piece is steep for Halloween candy, particularly if you will have a lot of trick or treaters. A lot of people have already given great suggestions but a few that haven't been mentioned are the individually wrapped dark chocolate peanut butter cups from Trader Joe's. Way better than Reese's, and each bag of 8-9 is $0.99. If you wanted to be generous, you could give each kid a pouch, or just a few. TJ's also has individual pouches of dark chocolate covered almonds for $0.99, individually wrapped organic fruit leathers for $0.49, and individual snack size bags of trail mix and kettle corn and kettle chips.

                                                                                                    As a kid trick or treating, I also loved more substantial treats like mini bags of microwave popcorn, Annie's cheddar bunnies, lunch box packs of cookies or crackers, and fruit snacks. I also appreciated mini bottles of water and Gatorade-- hiking all over town and up countless driveways and porch steps in costume with a haul of candy is hard work!

                                                                                                    Fwiw, I hated snickers bars.

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: ohmyyum

                                                                                                      JustVisiting, I don't know if you saw this post but from your report on your shopping trip at TJ's you seem to have misunderstood-- none of the items I suggested from Trader Joe's have Halloween wrappers. I simply suggested them because they are items made with better quality ingredients (though not necessarily healthy), inexpensive, individually wrapped, and wildly popular with kids.

                                                                                                      In addition to the suggestions above, they also have 3 packs of mini Belgian chocolate bars for $1.79 (that's about $0.80 a piece which is considerably less than your $2-3 whole foods estimate).

                                                                                                      I also like the "this ____ walks into a bar" cereal bars available in a box of 6 for $1.99 in apple, strawberry, blueberry, and fig flavors. But these might fall into the uncool category.

                                                                                                    2. So, I was just in the special Halloween candy section at Target. In addition to all of the candy they had bags of single-serving-Halloween-looking packs of:

                                                                                                      Pirate's Booty Aged White Cheddar Baked snack
                                                                                                      Halloween Pretzel treats shaped like bats and pumpkins
                                                                                                      Angie's Sweet & Salty Kettle Corn
                                                                                                      Baked Goldfish Snacks
                                                                                                      A "Variety" pack that looked like it had Scrabble Cheese-Its, Rice Krispie Treats, and some kind of fruit candy

                                                                                                      I didn't look at the prices, but it's Target. I assume it's all relatively reasonable.

                                                                                                      ~TDQ

                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                        Some photos of some of the non-candy Halloween treats at Target: pirates booty, pretzel treats, kettle corn, cheez it variety pack, baked goldfish.

                                                                                                        I'll leave it to you to decide if these are a) healthy and b) appealing to trick or treaters.

                                                                                                        ~TDQ

                                                                                                         
                                                                                                         
                                                                                                         
                                                                                                         
                                                                                                         
                                                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                          The Utz pretzels and cheese balls are peanut free. The cheese balls are gluten free, as well.

                                                                                                      2. when i was a kid there was one house in the neighborhood that gave out nickles... that was always a must! maybe to adjust for inflation quarters would be appropriate?

                                                                                                        1. it's halloween. part of the thrill is getting a big pile of stuff your parents would never buy you. either chill out and give the kids real candy, or simply turn out your lights and save your money. if you hand out "healthy" stuff, it's just going to get tossed or ignored in favor of more "fun" offerings anyway. my parent always let us pick 20 pieces to keep at the end of the night, and i can assure you boxes of raisins did not make the cut. and there's the rub; what kids eat or don't in the halloween aftermath is their GUARDIAN'S responsibility, just as it is every other day of the year. in my opinion, this worry about giving out "healthy" halloween candy (oxymoron much?) goes in the same obesity hysteria pile as calorie-counting for preschoolers. it's one night a year and a mini snickers bar, to my knowledge, has yet to be cited as the official cause of any death.

                                                                                                          1. The kids in your neighborhood won't be missing a thing. Those Whole Foods treats are NASTY (with the exception of the Lake Champlain chocolates). I thought the PB cups were bitter and some of the other chocolates are downright sour. Even the adults I fed them to didn't like them.

                                                                                                            If you're trying to avoid sugar, get the little packages of Smartfood or Pirate's Booty. Most kids like those, and they'll certainly not feel short-changed.

                                                                                                            My son has a nut allergy and could only eat the fruit stuff (sour gummies, skittles, etc.,) but he loved it when he got a pack of Smartfood.

                                                                                                            1. what about non-candy? I have given out: hair ribbons, small toys, coins... My neighbor, who worked in a dental office, gave away toothbrushes for years.

                                                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: KarenDW

                                                                                                                I was thinking about that myself. A sticker sheet for the younger kiddos, a glitter pen for older, etc.

                                                                                                                1. re: KarenDW

                                                                                                                  I'm thinking that's the solution. Parents will all have an idea of what's healthy and this is a way to avoid differing opinions. I remember little ball puzzle games which were fun.

                                                                                                                  1. re: KarenDW

                                                                                                                    Ribbons, toys, and coins are great. Toothbrushes are complete jackeassery.

                                                                                                                    1. re: ErnieD

                                                                                                                      Yes that makes me remember that headbands or lip-gloss or Chapstick might be great. Or those $1 stretchy gloves that many grocery stores sell.

                                                                                                                      1. re: GraceW

                                                                                                                        Chapstick? GLOVES?!

                                                                                                                        I'm sure the boys are going to be overjoyed with headbands and lip gloss...

                                                                                                                  2. Good lord, $2-3 a piece? Last year our next door neighbors bought 800 pieces of candy and gave one to each kid. They were out by 8:30 and there are usually still kids in the neighborhood at midnight (the high school kids.)

                                                                                                                    We're another household that hides in the back room and watches movies.

                                                                                                                    10 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                                      800+ kids? Crazy! Wow, that's got to be more than just the kids in the on the block.

                                                                                                                      What do people consider proper trick-or-treating range? In a suburban environment I really consider it to be around the block plus any walkable houses where you know the people well enough that you'd they'd like to see your child in costume. If you live in an apartment building, then the whole building. And I consider middle school to be the upper end of trick or treating age. And 8:30pm is pretty much when I shut off the lights, too, even if there are kids around. Halloween last year on a Weds night. Kids of treat-or-treating age need to be out of their costumes and in bed at a decent hour so they can get to school the next day.

                                                                                                                      We do have kids in St. Paul who come in cars from other neighborhoods. I assume their parents do this as a safety consideration.

                                                                                                                      ~TDQ

                                                                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                        We used to live in a neighborhood with thre cul de sacs and one long street. We did almost every house of the 70 houses. Some did not have lights on and one had a convicted sex offender there so we weren't allowed to trick or treat there. We used to go when it got dark and walk for an hour to two hours. Every year they buolt more houses so what started out as less than the whole neighborhood. We moved there when I was seven and we would trick or treat until the end of misdle school.

                                                                                                                        1. re: melpy

                                                                                                                          That sounds about right to me. Sunset here is 6:30, so you'd expect kids until about 8:30-9pm.

                                                                                                                          So, estimated on average 2 kids per house (some have more, some have none), that's 140 kids from the block trick or treating, perhaps? weezie's neighbors had almost six times that many kids! No wonder weezie hides in the house with the lights off! I would, too!

                                                                                                                          ~TDQ

                                                                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                            We live in a "desirable" neighborhood with some kind of reputation for being the "good" neighborhood to trick or treat in. They literally bring the kids in by the van load from neighborhoods as far as the next city over. There is so much traffic that if you don't get out before sundown and come back after midnight you could sit in traffic for an hour just to get out of the neighborhood (we made that mistake one year which is why we just stay home and hide now.)

                                                                                                                            We buy non candy treats for the little ones on the street we know (there aren't many, maybe 7 or 8, most of the kids are in high school now,) since their parents really don't want them eating candy anyhow, and we meet up with them early to see their costumes. It sounds like there are going to be LOTS of pirates this year! :)

                                                                                                                            Every year my plants are trampled and picked (we've caught people picking vegetables,) the yard (the entire neighborhood, really,) is a disaster of candy wrappers and garbage that takes an hour or two to clean up the next day. I guess because it isn't their neighborhood they see no reason to have any manners. They've sucked all of the fun out of it for us.

                                                                                                                            1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                                              I'm so sorry this is how it is for you. It's not really in the spirit of the whole thing, but unless you all enter into a pact where you agree to give out bad candy, or shut out your lights for a couple of years, or only give candy to kids you know or that can provide "proof of residence" (all of which sound totally not viable to me, unfortunately) I don't really see how it's going to change. :(

                                                                                                                              We also get carloads of kids from other neighborhoods, but nothing like what you describe. I don't really think they are out for better candy as much as it's a nice, safe, well-lighted, walkable neighborhood. And they are all really cute and polite and I'm delighted to see them. I suppose I should consider myself lucky!

                                                                                                                              ~TDQ

                                                                                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                When I was out watering my flowers this morning I saw one of the neighbors starting to put up their black picket fence. :) It gets decorated to be festive but it's really to protect their lawn and flowers from being decimated. We used that stretchy "spider web" stuff to block our porch off and the creepy caution tape with spooky sayings for the flower beds last year and probably will again. We do our best to not boo-humbug the holiday but it's hard.

                                                                                                                                1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                                                  Oh crap. We just finished our lawn reno yesterday (after a week of rain delay). Now I get to be the crazy lady sitting outside begging the kids not to walk on the lawn. How many nights until Halloween = number of nights losing sleep.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Just Visiting

                                                                                                                                    LOL about the crazy lady bit, not about the lawn.

                                                                                                                        2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                          TDQ -

                                                                                                                          As a St. Paulite, you'll understand this - I lived on Summit Avenue for a while during college (in a tiny duplex next to the big mansions) and we used to get similar numbers to weezleduzzit.

                                                                                                                          I think the kind of ritzy surroundings that places like Summit have tend to draw that kind of a crowd.

                                                                                                                          As college kids, we just used it as an excuse to throw a big party, and asked for bag of fun-size candy as our cover charge.

                                                                                                                          1. re: gildeddawn

                                                                                                                            Oh gosh, I can totally visualize Summit Avenue being that way on Halloween. As you say, mostly big stately homes, including the Governors Mansion, and nice wide sidewalks. Shoot, we should go trick or treating there this year! Ha! Just kidding, but yeah, I could see how traffic could be that nutty. Where do they all park????

                                                                                                                            Smart solution, by the way, asking everyone to bring candy as the cover charge! Funny that the kids don't recognize the difference between, say, Garrison Keillor's house, and a small duplex likely occupied by students.

                                                                                                                            ~TDQ

                                                                                                                      2. Eggs are healthy. And you'll likely have plenty of them dripping off your home's exterior if you try shortchanging kids with crappy treats on Halloween.

                                                                                                                        1. Keep in mind that Halloween isn't about your tastes or beliefs, but about your guests. That's pretty much what trick or treaters are! If you had guests over at your house for dinner, would you serve them whatever you felt like serving, or would you consider their likes and dislikes?

                                                                                                                          We went to Costco the other day and picked up the big barrel of individually packaged Halloween pretzels. That's what we are giving out at school. It was a 60 pack for under $7.00 -- extremely affordable.

                                                                                                                          In response to the other post saying if you are trick or treating, you should hand out candy. We are not handing out candy at home because we are going to my brother's house to trick or treat as part of a large group. How do you hand out candy if you are trick or treating elsewhere? I think that "rule" is a bit off-base.

                                                                                                                          As a mom, I am careful about what my kids eat -- no sodas, lots of fresh produce, no packaged convenience foods, etc. But Halloween is one night. The kids get to choose and keep 10 pieces of candy, and the rest gets brought to my office for the employees to snack on. Everyone's happy.

                                                                                                                          10 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: boogiebaby

                                                                                                                            I think it's a good rule but you can be reasonable. A single parent can't be expected to pass out candy and send kid alone, for example. Same as in your case.

                                                                                                                            Naturally if too many people sent their kids out but didn't hand out candy themselves, trick or treating would be pretty boring.

                                                                                                                            I think if your neighbors are giving candy to your child then you should do your best to do the same for theirs.

                                                                                                                            And for those that decide to take the entire family out, I'm convinced it's far more than just a family activity. It seems many do it to avoid giving out candy and there are always the adults with bags saying "this is for the baby at home." 1. Why are you giving candy to your baby and 2. I see a father, mother and grandmother along with 8 kids. I highly doubt there's a baby at home with no one to watch it.

                                                                                                                            My ex used to bring his kid to the "good" neighborhood because "she wouldn't get any candy if we stayed in our neighborhood." I think that's rude. There are so many church, school and mall Halloween parties for parents to bring their kids to nowadays. I'm happy to see the neighborhood kids and then I see ones I've never ever seen before and they don't even have costume.

                                                                                                                            1. re: youareabunny

                                                                                                                              No costume=no candy

                                                                                                                              You have to at least pretend you are in a costume. If you aren't creative enough to come up with something, you get no candy.

                                                                                                                              Be a "Homicidal Maniac, they look like everyone else" as Wednesday said in the Addams Family.

                                                                                                                              I have never been egged with this rule. I used to live "in town" so I had to sit on my porch. This year in a house I am hoping to sit inside and have kids ring the bell. In my previous town Trick or Treat night was rarely on Halloween (a tradition which I hate), this year I think we might luck out and have it on the 31st for once. Also there were strict rules that you could only go out from 6 pm-8 pm. Not sure about the new town. I must go investigate the rules.

                                                                                                                              1. re: melpy

                                                                                                                                yeah, I tried the no costume-no candy rule.

                                                                                                                                Ten minutes later, I was out sweeping up the shattered remains of my pumpkins out of the middle of the street.

                                                                                                                                Easier to just give the slobbering little punks a candy bar.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: youareabunny

                                                                                                                                    because OF COURSE mints will piss them off less than giving them a candy bar.

                                                                                                                                    Seriously??!!

                                                                                                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                      I grab the good candy for the kids I know, or in costume, and the stuff leftover from restaurants to the others. It's easy to grab a handful, stick hand in their bag, and throw it in such a way they don't know what they've gotten.

                                                                                                                                      Been doing that for decades, have yet to be egged or toilet papered.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                        I'm getting this mental image of these cute kids in their costumes, coming home with a pail full of gloves, lip gloss, dental floss, and breath mints....

                                                                                                                                        ....they're KIDS out gathering candy in the tradition of Halloween, not the needy homeless who need toiletries!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                          Maybe some tubes of Crest toothpaste?

                                                                                                                                          Hey, that is healthy, right?

                                                                                                                                          Maybe we should hand out toilet paper too.

                                                                                                                                          Hunt

                                                                                                                                1. re: youareabunny

                                                                                                                                  I agree. I think there are always exceptions to the rule. Halloween does get tricky but we have always hired a young neighbour to sit at our house to give out candy when we have gone out with our children. Where there are problems there are solutions.

                                                                                                                              2. If you don't want your house egged & toilet papered, stick with candy or pretending you're not home.

                                                                                                                                Or you can pay $3-$5 per bar of dark European chocolate, which is healthier than milk chocolate, significantly lower in sugar, & lactose free.

                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                1. re: likalaruku

                                                                                                                                  If my kids got that, they'd have to give it to me.

                                                                                                                                2. I saw clementines that someone had taken a marker to and painted jack-o-lantern faces.

                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                  1. re: sauterc

                                                                                                                                    That is so cute! I always thought that fresh fruit was a no-no, though, because of the fear that people could push needles into them, etc. Or was that just my overly protective mom?

                                                                                                                                    ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                  2. OK, I think I have a number of options now, but I hit on another yesterday. I happen to love Fig Newtons. Always have. I think only the originals are available in mini-packages. So I checked the ingredients/nutrition info and compared it to Fig Newmans and apart from the organic thing, they actually are about the same (including corn syrup, which Newman's cleverly calls HFCS, as if we can't figure it out).

                                                                                                                                    So do kids like Fig Newtons? I've never had kids. Yes, I liked them but I was a weird kid.

                                                                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: Just Visiting

                                                                                                                                      Hit or miss, I think. I always liked them, but I remember thinking I was in the minority.

                                                                                                                                      ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                        Agree on all points. As it happens, my sweetheart is a big fan as well and is a little put off at the (relatively) new packaging since he can no longer eat them "by the sleeve."

                                                                                                                                      2. re: Just Visiting

                                                                                                                                        My guess would be a resounding no. I made date squares a few months ago for a group of kids(ages8-14) and no one liked them, and I mean no one. Only a couple of adults liked them . A complete bomb, thank god I had chocolate brownies. I haven't had a fig newton in a while but kids these days want sweeter treats. My kids love the brook side chocolate covered 'fruit', you can buy them individually wrapped at Costco.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Just Visiting

                                                                                                                                          My kids, who will eat chicken feet, durian, and other food "oddities", can't stand Fig Newtons. They are 7 and 9.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Just Visiting

                                                                                                                                            When I was a kid, a fig newton was the cookie I ate when there was nothing else sweet in the house, and I was never happy about it.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: SaraAshley

                                                                                                                                              Was once offered fig newtons by the baby sitter. I didn't have any, while my brother proceeded to fill his half glass full of water with the FGs.

                                                                                                                                              To this day I can still picture the glass full of smashed, soggy, yet still recognizable fig newtons. He must've gotten at least ten in there.

                                                                                                                                          2. So...I decided to make a trip to Trader Joe's yesterday to see what options they might have. An aside - I'm one of those "I don't get it" on Trader Joe's. I've found some good items, but can't see how anyone can do their regular shopping at this chain. This particular Trader Joe's is the closest but even weirder than most. It is in a bizarre four-story shopping/office deck that has been re-built at least a dozen times and still keeps killing everything that opens in it. With seriously bad parking. Right now, it is under reno again and it is creepy and depressing.

                                                                                                                                            Well turns out that they don't have any Halloween candy. Except some gummi-type things called Ghoulie Gummies. I asked when they would be getting the Halloween candy. Turns out they won't. The manager told me that they aren't sent Halloween candy.

                                                                                                                                            They do their Joe Joe's cookies with pumpkin faces and orange-colored cream - absolutely adorable - but not in individual packs. Only 16-oz boxes. No way am I handing out anything that wasn't sealed at the source. I can't imagine any parent letting their kids keep something that was opened and wrapped by a stranger.

                                                                                                                                            The place was jam packed so I didn't browse for small packets of nuts or other suitable items.

                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                            1. re: Just Visiting

                                                                                                                                              I haven't seen many individually-wrapped sweet items there. I only think of the fruit-leathers which are really tasty. So those could actually be a good option, besides Sauterc's suggestion above about drawing a jack-o-lantern face on a clementine.

                                                                                                                                            2. You can give out fried eggs and six packs of beer, like the Coneheads used to do.:)

                                                                                                                                              1. Hand out containers of dental floss!

                                                                                                                                                Hunt

                                                                                                                                                1. I give out candy for Halloween, leaving the it to the parents of my trick or treaters to teach the kids how to enjoy it in moderation!

                                                                                                                                                  1. Sorry if I sound rude and dogmatic, but.... Halloween is NOT about healthy! That said, my vote goes for those single serving packs of candy corn, the world's only REAL Halloween candy! '-)

                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                      I love candy corn. Am I the only person who imagines the orange, yellow and white all taste a little different?

                                                                                                                                                      P.S. We all sound rude and dogmatic!

                                                                                                                                                      ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                        I agree. Now, Earth Day might be about vegan and all that stuff, but not Halloween. It is about fun, imagination and then, indulgence.

                                                                                                                                                        Now, as a kid, way back when, I would often trade most of my take, for some of the other stuff.

                                                                                                                                                        Now, we go with chocolates, that, if not handed out, will become morsels with a glass of Port, for us the next week.

                                                                                                                                                        Hunt

                                                                                                                                                      2. I use to give out Flavor-ice pops (unfrozen). They come in a box of 100 for less than $5. It was just something a little different (and cheap).

                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. Not sure if it was mentioned but what about the indivudual wrapped rice krispy treats?

                                                                                                                                                          You are really going to have a hard time finding something that isn't going to cost a lot and that is individually wrapped.

                                                                                                                                                          Whole foods does have those organic fruit roll ups but they aren't cheap either.

                                                                                                                                                          you could give the small bags of peanuts or sunflower seeds.

                                                                                                                                                          1. Well, you could do this. Hand out letters instead of candy to children you think are "moderately obese."

                                                                                                                                                            http://www.valleynewslive.com/story/2...

                                                                                                                                                            Wow.

                                                                                                                                                            ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                              I saw this on The Today Show this morning. Un-friggin'-believable. She really should run and hide. At the very least I see her getting egged, tomatoed, toilet-papered, corned, etc. It won't be pretty. Eeek.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: lynnlato

                                                                                                                                                                It's way way way over the line of acceptable behavior. I hope she reconsiders.

                                                                                                                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: lynnlato

                                                                                                                                                                  With this kind of publicity I am sure the town will end up putting a police detail at her house. Sad all the way around.

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                  I can't find any information about whether or not she did this. I hope not.

                                                                                                                                                                  ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                    Over on the Food Media thread CH John E stated this was a hoax at the radio station and provided a link. Was this the TRICK in trick or treat, I have no idea.

                                                                                                                                                                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/922259

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                      Interesting! I hadn't heard that, but I hope he's right!

                                                                                                                                                                      ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                3. In the interest of science, I went out and bought whole-grain crackers with peanut butter. And scads of ordinary cheap candy. And when the kids came to the door, I offered both, thinking that most kids would take candy, some kids would take both, and a few kids would want crackers.

                                                                                                                                                                  WRONG.

                                                                                                                                                                  We can't get rid of the crackers unless we sneak them into the kids' bags.

                                                                                                                                                                  Lesson learned.

                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Just Visiting

                                                                                                                                                                    Somehow, I think the whole grain crackers part might have been the kiss of death. If given the choice, I really couldn't see a child choosing something other than candy, but I wonder if they would have also taken the PB or cheese crackers if it had been regular crackers when given the option to take both. I'm not even sure I'd take the whole wheat crackers.

                                                                                                                                                                    Then again, it might be hard to tell what color the crackers are in the dark anyway. Probably wouldn't have made a difference.

                                                                                                                                                                    The governor of MN gave out Pearson's Salted Nut Rolls (as we did) but also organic mini-pumpkins from a local farm. Too bad you have to be the governor to be able to do that.

                                                                                                                                                                    ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Just Visiting

                                                                                                                                                                      More empirical evidence: I accompanied my twin goddaughters for trick-or-treating Thursday night. Toward the end of the evening we went to a house where the guy had done a similar experiment. he had both ordinary snack size candy bars and single serving bags of "healthier" treats - pretzels, nuts, etc., all of the Whole Foods variety - and he let the kids pick. No one chose the healthy ones so he started giving those to the parents. I went home with some Hail Merry macaroons - yum.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                        That's exactly the kind of reaction we got when I asked if anyone wanted peanut butter crackers. So I said to one group of kids, "Hey, at least it isn't broccoli!" They thought that was funny, so I said "but that candy is chocolate-covered broccoli" and a few of them looked as though they might believe it. The next kid - I said, "oh I am SO SORRY- we ran out of candy but I still have some broccoli" - she looked so downcast that I felt guilty - but after she left, I had a bit of a giggle.