What Not To Hand Out At Halloween

Recently there’s been some discussion among my friends about wanting to get away from the over-sugarification of Halloween. A teacher friend of mine described November 1 as “the worst day of the year, behaviorwise” because everyone’s up too late the night before and is all hopped up on sugar. Not to mention that those dang kids will neeever gooo to sleeeep when they’ve eaten so much candy.

So it makes sense that people want to hand out things that aren’t all sugary. Some of the things that have been suggested, though, have been a little dicey. I’m going to ask people to refrain from handing out any of the following things to unsuspecting kids who come to trick or treat:

Acorns, Polished Rocks, and Soap
My friend’s local paper suggested these as alternatives to candy that kids would love. The whole point of Halloween, I thought, was that people give you things you don’t already have at your house freely available. We have piles of rocks and acorns, and I have a shelf full of soap, all of which my kids can have any time they’d like. Also, acorns? Really?

Raisins are disgusting, and one raisin has as much sugar as an M&M* but without the good taste.

*I completely made that up. It’s probably not true. But it makes you feel better about all those M&Ms you’re going to steal from your kids’ bags after they’re asleep Wednesday night, doesn’t it?

This may be controversial because some people love getting toothbrushes. I love getting them any other time of the year and get disappointed if I don’t get a new one in my Christmas stocking. But there’s just something weird about a toothbrush at Halloween, the day that candy rules. It’s a little like making ham for Thanksgiving instead of turkey.

Halloween Tracts
Either you participate in Halloween or you don’t. Don’t go all bait-and-switch on kids by making them think you’re part of it and then giving them a pamphlet about why Halloween is bad. That’s like telling little kids there’s no Santa Claus.

Carob Candies
What is this, 1982 at the co-op??

Baked Beans
When my dad was an undergraduate majoring in Extreme Nerdery at MIT, he and his roommates completely forgot that it was Halloween until their doorbell rang and kids were there in costumes saying “Trick or Treat.” Instead of just saying they didn’t have any candy, my dad grabbed the baked beans he was cooking for dinner and put a scoop of beans in each kid’s bag. Be careful if you’re trick or treating in student housing in Cambridge.


In place of those inferior hand-outs, may I suggest the following non-candy items as delightful treats:

temporary tattoos

spider rings, rubber spiders, vampire teeth

superballs (especially the kind that light up)

individually packaged goldfish or pretzels

clementines with jack-o-lantern faces drawn on with sharpie


Happy Halloween, and just say no to acorns!


Magda Pecsenye writes aboutĀ  parenting at and about co-parenting after divorce with her ex-husband at When The Flames Go Up.

Follow her on Twitter at @AskMoxie and join the AskMoxie Facebook page.

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