First, an excerpt about Hallowe’en from Jerry Seinfeld’s old-school stand-up:
“The first time you hear the concept of Hallowe’en when you’re a kid, your brain can’t even process the information. You’re like, ‘What is this? What did you say? …Who is giving out candy? Everyone that we know is just giving away candy? Are you kidding me? When is this happening? Where? Why? Take me with you….I gotta be a part of this …I can wear that!’()
If you were a kid who took Hallowe’en seriously, you’re probably not going to love what I’m about to suggest about moving away from giving out free Type 2 Diabetes to kids this year…
(In case you don’t know what I mean about the kid who took Hallowe’en overly seriously, he is the kid who started planning his costume in August. The kid who took notes each Hallowe’en—noting who gave out full-sized candy bars and who disappointed him with granola bars and tootsie rolls—to use the following year when mapping out his route to maximize candy collection. This kid was fairly discerning about who he let Trick-or-Treat with him: Less athletic friends, who wouldn’t be able to keep up with his pace, were cut from the roster, as were those who didn’t show adequate enthusiasm for the event. That’s what I mean about taking Hallowe’en seriously!)
If that was you, I ask you to open your mind and think beyond the full-size chocolate bar for the sake of the next generation of children and their health, because times have changed, man. Kids who grew up in the 1980s and 1990s were raised by mothers who used Campbell’s mushroom soup as a sauce for everything. Go figure, these same mothers encouraged us to use oversized pillow cases as reasonable Trick-or-Treating bags. Today, we’re living in a modern gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, most definitely Campbell’s Mushroom Soup-free era. Not to mention, we have become more sensitive about allergies and food sensitivities. What does this mean for today’s generation of Hallowe’en enthusiasts? It means half their candy might just get confiscated by their health-conscious, helicopter parents anyway, so it might be time to think outside the box when we consider what to give out this year. Yes? No? Are you with me?
Here’s the thing: I think if you’re smart about it, you can give out healthier, no-sugar options on Hallowe’en that kids will be even more excited about than they are about a fun-sized Snickers bar (Why do they call it fun-sized, anyway? Isn’t it more fun to have a bigger size? Just saying). The key is to move away from handing out edible treats altogether. This way, there will be less comparing going on between a Mars bar and a homemade, gluten-free, sugar-free nut ball.
I know what your next objection is “How much is this Hallowe’en going to cost me?” If you do it right, it doesn’t have to cost you anymore than a giant box of chocolate bars. To get you thinking in the right direction, here are 7 treats you can give out this year without murdering children’s teeth or giving them Type 2 Diabetes before the age of 15.
7. Mini Glider Airplanes: (amazon.com). Novel, fun, and they’re just under $10 for a 24-pack. If you normally give out two small Hallowe’en-sized candy bars to each child, you’ll spend about the same. Not only that, but they promote being physical.
6. Carabiners: (amazon.com) If you get some older 12 or 13-year-old Trick-or-Treaters, carabiners are a great choice for them. Practical for all sorts of uses. A carabiner house would have been on our map as a 13-year-old!
5. Mini Flashlight: Similarly, a mini flashlight is great for the “older” Trick-or-Treaters (and the younger ones, for that matter), and they are also surprisingly inexpensive: 20 for $24. (amazon.com). Better yet, if you’re feeling extra generous, give out a flashlight on a carabiner and your house will be remembered by all who Trick-or-Treat at yours.
4. Bouncy Balls:A pack of 50 for $50 (amazon.com). No kid of any age–or adult for that matter–would turn down a bouncy ball if offered. They’re timeless. And promote a little hand-eye coordination, perhaps?
3. Tattoos: I don’t know a 4-year-old who wouldn’t choose a tattoo over a Kit Kat bar!
2. Bubbles: See above. Younger Trick-or-Treaters especially, live for bubbles more than they do for candy.
1. Fidget Spinner: While I don’t understand the fidget spinner generation, they seem to be popular among kids of all ages, and you can buy mini ones for not much more than 50 cents each ().
Not sold? Here’s an experiment: Put out a bowl of candy and a bowl of trinkets this year, and let the children select a candy treat versus healthy treat.. Report back!