Holiday Tips And Ideas: Five Halloween Trick Or Treat Alternatives

Here are five ideas for alternative halloween treats that won't break your budget or rot a child's teeth.

Ah, Halloween. That glorious time of chaos and mayhem, where little ghoulies and princesses have the right to knock on your door and beg for candy. Rest assured, the adorable little urchins who graced your porch will go back to their homes loaded down with enough sugar to form their own cartel. Appetites will inevitably be lost, teeth will eventually decay, and the children will be on a sugar rush that will last for weeks. So what can you do as a conscientious adult to reverse this chain of events? Here are five alternatives to candy that won't break your budget and won't add to the pile of junk food in a child's Halloween treat bag.

1. Fruits. There was a time when the idea of giving out fruit to trick-or-treaters became decidedly unpopular, based on some powerful but unproven urban legends involving apples and razor blades. Parents were often warned to inspect their child's fruit carefully, even x-rayed if necessary. In a more health-conscious world, however, tensions have eased considerably. If you want to give out fruits as alternatives to candy, make sure you inspect them yourself and then wrap them in tissue paper. Parents may still wish to inspect their child's haul, but may appreciate the thoughtfulness of a healthy treat being offered.

2. Gift Certificates. No, this doesn't mean those expensive 'free meal' certificates you might consider at Christmas time. This would be free gift certificates offered as promotional items by local fast-food restaurants. Ask around and see which restaurants have a program in place for such giveaways. Often the coupons are for free french fries or a small drink, which may encourage parents to come into the restaurant with their little redeemers. No cost to you except some time, and the restaurants get some free publicity with your help.

3. Plastic Toys. Seek out a catalog from one of those companies that sell wholesale plastic toys for carnivals and fund-raisers. Someone in your local PTA or church organization may have a catalog you can borrow, if you can't find one of your own. You can order a tremendous amount of plastic toys at a very low price. Many of these toys can be holiday-specific, like spider rings or other 'spooky' Halloween items. You can mix and match these toys, and offer them to children much like you would candy. You could also purchase several larger toys and hand them out as prizes for 'scariest costume' or 'best screamer' or whatever. A good toy can still fascinate a child, regardless of how modern they think they are.

4. Sports or trading cards. If you have a little more money in your Halloween treat budget, you might consider buying some sports cards or another popular trading card for children. Those with large budgets can probably afford to leave an entire pack in every child's bag, but you could still break the packs down into single entities. Check out the latest fads in collectible cards, or go to your local sports collectibles outlet and get a mix of popular sport cards.

5. School supplies. This doesn't have to be as boring as it may appear. Consider getting a supply of colorful pencils, or erasers with designs on them. Crayons can be ordered through a bulk toy catalog. Pencil sharpeners can be a popular and necessary item. Stickers are very popular decorative items for little girls who like to dress up their notebooks. Little boys may appreciate stickers of trucks or action heroes. Find out the names of popular music stars and seek out inexpensive posters or other items that could be hung in lockers.

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