If you don’t want to go candy crazy this Halloween, try these treat ideas that aren’t all about the sugar.
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Credit: Photo: Caitlin Bensel

The “trick” part of trick-or-treating is usually a friendly warning to households that dare to offer sub-par candy or goods that seem more like prescriptions than fun – a plain apple? Really?

But finding the perfect, healthy substitute isn't as easy as you'd think. What can you hand out to family, friends, and visiting tricksters that won't have kids leaving your home in sheer disappointment? 

Here are a few non-candy ideas to keep your costumed creatures happy:

Glow Sticks

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Kids can break out these glow-in-the-dark sticks, wands, or necklaces right away. Get a variety of colors so they can choose and trade. A bonus is that the life of a glow stick is temporary; this won’t be another toy that’s destined for the clutter pile.

Popcorn Kits

Credit: Photo: Caitlin Bensel

Fill Halloween-themed baggies partway with popping corn and top with a small condiment container of homemade dry seasoning with flavors like barbecue or ranch (umami popcorn is a big hit). Parents and kids can have fun popping the corn on the stove and dressing the kernels themselves.

Pencils or Crayons

The great thing about pencils and crayons with Halloween themes is that they’re fitting for the holiday, yet still useful months afterward (plastic spiders? Not so much). Include mini kid-safe sharpeners with the pencils that can also be used for a long time.

Temporary Tattoos

Tattoos have the same allure as stickers but won’t end up all over your house (and they’ll wash off in a day or two). It’s also an activity to do right when you get back to the house, rather than gorging on candy.

Crazy Straws

Fun, festive straws will encourage little ghosts and goblins to stay hydrated. Extra points if you can find paper straws, as they are much better for the environment and our oceans than plastic.

Attach small bottles of water and/or a sugar-free powdered drink packet so they can brew their own beverage “potion.”