“In our town, Halloween was terrifying and thrilling, and there was a whiff of homicide. We’d travel by foot in the dark for miles, collecting candy, watching out for adults who seemed too eager to give us treats.” — Rosecrans Baldwin
Halloween is no longer revered and feared as the time of year when the veil between the world of the living and of the dead is at its thinnest, but instead as a time to gorge ourselves on sugar while wearing sexy pirate clothes.
Not that I have anything against sexy pirates.
Healthy Treats to Hand Out
All of that said, I truly appreciate that Halloween is that one time of year when neighbors actually meet each other. I’m sad that we live in a world where so many parents no longer feel it is safe for their kids to “trick or treat,” though I entirely understand their concerns. So if you still live in a neighborhood that celebrates Halloween by sending it’s little people out in disguise to beg for sugar, here are some ideas for some healthier treats to hand-out that are individually wrapped but won’t get your house egged (aka no handing out toothbrushes, okay!), but please note these aren’t perfect. Some contain allergens like nuts and dairy and others contain sugars or sugar alcohol though all of my suggestions are gluten free (cuz that’s how I roll), lower sugars and more natural products. Not all of these companies are ideal, but by and large, these are better options to handout than candy corn. Please note, these are in no particular order and I have no ties to any of these companies:
- Granola bars – Since I’m not a big fan of grains, I suggest Lara Bars or Kind Bars, but suit yourself. And there is always jerky and bison bars like Epic Bars and Tanka Bars (perhaps the meat bars should be reserved for the adults accompanying costumed creatures… if you want to avoid having your house TPd)
- Peelu Dental Chewing Gum is a healthier option than Bubbalicious (do they still make that brand?) being sweetened with xylitol instead of sugar or artificial sweeteners. Note: sugar alcohols are problematic for folks with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, but still a better choice than the other sugar-stuff out there.
- Raisin and Craisin little boxes are always in easy win
- Nut butter Squeeze Packs – Made by Artisana or Justin’s Nut Butter. Some are sweetened with maple syrup and there are fun flavors (like Cacao Bliss). These are certified gluten free.
- Justin’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups – Around Halloween, you can find bags of single cups instead of double. These are certified gluten free and dairy free. Or for nut and peanut free (they do contain dairy), try certified gluten free Dark Chocolate Sun Cups made with sunflower seed butter instead of peanut butter. I love that both of these are Boulder-based businesses that have made it (are nation-wide).
- Jennie’s Macaroon Cookies, individually wrapped. These are grain-free and dairy-free. There are 24 macaroons, individually wrapped in a box. Each 2 ounces.
- Dark chocolate bars – If money is no concern and you like to splurge on the neighborhood kids please move to my neighborhood (I will take back-up “trick or treating”) and handout the certified gluten free Endangered Species Dark Chocolate Bars. FYI, in case you were wondering, I’m partial to the 72% Dark Chocolate with Raspberries Bar.
- 100% Fruit Strips/Bars/Roll-ups/Leathers with no added sugars like those from Stretch Island Fruit Co.
- YumEarth Organics Candies – These are bags of individually wrapped candies including lollipops, gummy bears, hard candies and fruit snacks. Hard candies and lollipops tend to be the most damaging sugar snacks to teeth because the sugar stays inside the mouth coating the teeth for the longest. That said, these candies are gluten free, organic, peanut-free, tree nut free, soy free and contain all natural ingredients.
- Natural Gummy Snacks in small bags by Let’s Do Organics. There are 4 bags in a box, each 3.5 ounces. These are organic, certified gluten free, dairy free and egg free. They only contain real fruit and natural ingredients.
If you are a parent and want to allow some splurging, but want to make sure the induced sugar coma is gluten free, you can always check-out this gluten free sugar coma list of products. If you are interested in greening your Halloween, I suggest reading this article on environmental sustainability as it relates to Halloween. For my vegan readers, here is the 2014 Vegan Halloween Candy Guide. And finally, for my readers with kids that have nut or peanut allergies, check out the Bay Area Allergy Advisory Board’s Peanut and Tree Nut Candy List.
I know I’m missing some fantabulous ideas, so please post below some healthier options you have found for handing out to ghoulish small people. And if you would like to avoid handing out food all together, I suggest cute Halloween-themed pencils and erasers.
And if you are in the Denver area, you can register for my free Workshop on Creating a Healthier Halloween. We will be discussing how to not throw your body back into a state of sugar addiction during Halloween, how to make Halloween healthier but still fun for your family and we will be doing a food demo for making some healthier Halloween treats for parties.