Healthy Halloween Candy + Over 30 Non-Food Treats

October 22, 2019

healthy halloween candy

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It was so easy when the kids were babies and you could literally control their life experience as well as every little thing they ate -wasn’t it!? Well gone are the days when we got dressed up, went to the next door neighbors, got a dollar and then came home. Now that my kids are 6 and 7 they are all about dressing up, staying up late and GETTING CANDY.

I tried to stick to my real food values as long as I could but then it happened. The year they discovered candy didn’t just mean Annie’s Organic Bunny Fruit Snacks, it meant colorful confectionaries like Skittles, Snickers and Air Heads.

I was talking to Steph about this and she blew my mind when she said You know flu season pretty much starts the day after Halloween right – that’s not a coincidence! 

So I looked into it more and could only find this one study from 1973, which showed the amount of immune cells responsible for phagocytosis (the process of attacking and consuming waste material in the body) were reduced after sugar was consumed. And maybe there are more supporting studies out there but sometimes life is screaming the answer at us while we are digging in the numbers so I’m taking that for all it’s worth. On Halloween, kids load up on processed candy filled with unhealthy preservatives, artificial colors, artificial flavors, partially hydrogenated oils, MSG, high fructose corn syrup, crazy amounts of sugar and more. I mean it’s no wonder “flu season starts the very next day”.

Swimming Upstream

I can talk to my kids and lead by example all I want but the fact that my kid got a parent-provided snack after his first baseball game last weekend and the words, “YES OREOS!” came out his mouth just cripples me.

The thing is, it’s impossible to escape society’s deep routed traditions, institutionalized beliefs and cultural norms. Let’s face it, my kid is going to eat a double stuffed at some point in his life – and it’s not a matter of if but when. So this is how I look at it. I’m running a marathon here, not a sprint and the finish line is to have him remain healthy and make educated decisions when he is fully independent. And it all starts with education now while he is young. Not depravation. Education.

It’s been a hard lesson to grapple with but I’ve come to value social connection over food values – ESPECIALLY this year when we just moved into a new neighborhood. Halloween is the perfect time to go out, knock on some doors and introduce ourselves without feeling weird AT ALL!

Halloween Night + New Traditions

A little bit about me. Let me just preface all of this by saying flash back to Halloween 1987 and I was laying on the floor with lights out and blinds shut on this day of pagan celebration.  And this instance just scratches the surface of my alternative upbringing. #religiouslife

Anywho, a lot has progressed since then. The major thing being I went to college. And that’s where I went all-out on Halloween. Some of my faves were, Marilyn Monroe (my mom made me a killer dress) and then one year after I met Jason, he was a priest and I was a pregnant nun. And since then I’ve had so much fun dressing the boys up every year. My dream costume is Jason as Coach Belichick, me as a cheerleader, Cole as Tom Brady and Quinn as the football. Maybe 2019 is my year!

healthy halloween candy
Cole (5) and Quinn (4) 2017 Halloween cuties!

So in the spirit of making up for my childhood, the past few years we’ve let the kids run wild. With eyes as big as the new moon, they dress up, knock on doors and load up on candy until it’s spilling over the sides of their bag. Then we come back to the house and they are allowed to pick three things, then I dump the rest.

Of course over the years, as they wise up to the process, their three things have gotten bigger and bigger. Instead of the small snack pack it’s the full candy bar so then we say something like; Okay one for tonight and one for tomorrow. Or half tonight and half tomorrow. And then I dump the rest. Anyone see a theme here!? Ha ha.

I know a lot of people like doing The Switch Witch which is a fun idea but we just give it to them straight. This candy has ingredients that are not good for little bodies so you can have a little bit but it’s not good to have a lot. This works for now but I am fully aware I may have to up my game and trade candy for toys at some point. Fine with me!

I know there other programs out there too like you can donate all your candy to the troops or turn it in at your local dentist etc… but seriously? It’s the same way I felt when I finally dumped my Burberry Brit – I kinda wanted to give it to someone because I spent so much money on it but in the end what good would that do? Here, take this bag full of neurotoxic food dyes and chemical preservatives. Enjoy! I just can’t.

Give Them All The Activated Charcoal

And when all is said and done, my organic girl rears it’s head and I dose them with a huge glass of charcoal lemonade to suck all that crap up and have it pass through without being digested. Ha! A girl can hope.

Make Halloween Great Again

So let’s all do our part to make Halloween great again! And by “great” I mean HEALTHIER.

This section is going to start out with an ode to my sister-in-law’s neighbor who I lovingly call The Book Lady. Every year (“BA” – before Atlanta) we would head over to my SIL and BIL’s house and all the cousins would Trick-Or-Treat together. Let me be the first to say, I looked forward to this so much for so many reasons but one of them being they have this one neighbor who turns her whole porch into a book fair!  A former teacher, all year long she stocks up on kids books from garage sales, donations, hand-me-downs and the like with the sole intention of building up her Halloween stockpile. But the best part!? The kids LOVE GOING TO HER HOUSE! It is something they looked forward to – dare I say more than the candy houses? Okay maybe that is a stretch but they definitely spent more time there browsing, picking up, putting down, changing their minds, asking for TWO. This lady has it going on.

My 4-year-old shopping books on Halloween at a neighbors
My 4-year-old Quinn shopping books on Halloween at a neighbors.

So knowing that every house wont be a free-for-all-book-extravaganza, lets talk about some better candy options with real food ingredients. Also scroll down for some non-food goodies that kids will totally get excited about. Promise!

Better Candy Options

First up, it’s important to choose organic and/or non-GMO candy because the sugar in most processed foods comes from GMO sugar beets. And GMO crops are sprayed with Roundup – an herbicide linked to cancer and a host of other health problems like hypertension, stroke, diabetes, obesity, metabolism disorder, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, MS, autism, IBS, acute kidney failure, cancers of the thyroid, liver, bladder, pancreas, kidney and leukemia…to name a few.

And while we are being honest, it’s important to remember just because we are doling out “organic” candy, it doesn’t necessarily make it less sugary, it just makes it free of health compromising nasties. But at the end of the day candy is still candy. However, there are definitely some better options so lets dish!

Dr. John’s all natural, sugar free lollipops – Real food pops (like pumpkin, carrot, turmeric sweet potato, radish!) sweetened with tooth-friendly xylitol.

Enjoy Life is busting out a Halloween candy line this year that is free from (get this); wheat, dairy, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, sesame! They are also non-GMO + certified gluten-free. HELLO! I tried their Nestle Crunch copy cat and it was a dead ringer!

All the Smart Sweets – Sweetened with stevia – no sugar! Non-GMO with no artificial colors, or artificial flavors gummy bears and fish. Vegan.

Smash Mallow Malloween Pack – Sold out the last time I checked but hoping they come back in stock soon! A cleanser marshmallow with a ton of fun flavors.

Heavenly Organics Honey Mint Patties – Made from only three ingredients! Dark chocolate, raw white honey and peppermint oil!

Made Good Mini Packs – Allergy friendly, whole foods, certified organic and gluten free!

Justin’s Peanut Butter Cups – I don’t know what the deal is. I know several people who don’t like these but I could easily eat a whole bag in one sitting! Certified organic and made with real food. Individually wrapped minis.

Unreal Peanut Butter Cups – Or you could try these real food peanut butter cups….also individually wrapped.

Perfect Bar Minis – 20/case, made with real food and kids love them plus they are certified organic too.

Wholesome’s Organic DelishFish – Individually wrapped little bags. Certified organic.

Yum Earth Organic Fruit SnacksUSDA Organic, Vegan, Gluten Free, Non-GMO Project Verified. Free from top allergens. No Egg, fish, milk, peanuts, shellfish, soy, tree-nuts and gluten. No artificial flavors or colors and they have sour options too.

Torie + Howard Chewie Fruties – These are a softer and cleaner alternative to Starburst! USDA Organic Certified; Kosher certified. Chewie Fruities contain 200% the daily requirement of Vitamin C. No artificial colors, flavors or preservatives, No corn syrup, non-GMO, gluten free, soy free, casein free, vegan. Also, I called the the “natural flavors” are a proprietary blend of fruits and veggie extracts and oils.

Candy Alternatives:

So I totally get that kids want candy but I love the idea of non-candy treats and honestly kids love them too. Plus the fun lasts longer! And you can also consider joining the Teal Pumpkin Project which makes Halloween accessible to kids with allergies too.

What would you add?

Xo, lisa

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healthier halloween candy

By Lisa

Lisa is the founder of This Organic Girl. Passionate about clean beauty, organic eats and nontoxic lifestyle, Lisa writes to create awareness. Conscious consumerism and informed decisions will impact the marketplace, our health and THE WORLD!

13 Comments

  1. Reply

    PERRINE

    Great article! I hate this crazy candy thing around Halloween… We are lucky enough that our almost 8 years old daughter doesn’t really like candies (even though she loves trick-or-treating). After Halloween we have tone of candies that we won’t eat and it is such a waste. It’s unhealthy and it generates so much waste for the planet. Make me sick. And yes, too much sugar weaken the immune system 🙁 I was considering baking treats (who doesn’t like freshly baked cookies or french crepes?) but it’s a lot of work and not all kids like home made treats so… I will definitely try some of the brands you recommend. And I know we’ll probably have to work harder with our little one (17 months) that already has a sweet tooth. Educating work on the long run and baking, baking with the kids is every thing. We do our home made granola 4 times less sweet than the one you buy at the store. So many ways to cut on sugar and after that they can’t eat the crazy sugary things out there. Well, sorry for this very long comment and thanks again. Have a wonderful day Lisa! It’s always a pleasure to read you 🙂

    1. Reply

      Lisa

      Thanks Perrine! I love making my own granola too. And homemade crepes sounds AMAZING! I’m coming over!!!

  2. Reply

    Beckie

    Bitsy’s brand is an excellent choice also! They incorporate veggies into crackers, cookies, etc with a great taste!

    1. Reply

      Lisa

      Oh awesome, thanks Beckie!!!

  3. Reply

    Annette

    I ordered some surf sweet spooky shape gummies. They should arrive today so we’ll see what they taste like. I was also thinking of giving some match cars and rings that the kids can choose from. We get quite a few little kids. It’s so hard to know what to give as I remember how much I loved Halloween when I was little and making a store with all of my candy afterwards. I also was wondering about your thoughts on bringing snacks after little kids sports. I honestly don’t understand it. It’s not like it’s social time afterwards, everyone just leaves. There is also the presumption that all the parents can afford to bring a snack for everyone. When my nephew was little, my sister’s finances were tight and she honestly couldn’t afford to bring snacks for the kids to eat in the car on their way home. When it was her turn, it was really stressful. Oops sorry, did that come across as a rant? Just curious about your thoughts on the subject.

    1. Reply

      Lisa

      Hi Annette! That is so cute about making a candy store – I can totally see it! Maybe they will make a car store instead? It’s my turn to bring snacks this weekend to baseball. Thankfully it was a volunteer situation but last year in preschool we all rotated bringing snacks in and that was stressful and costly. It’s especially hard today with all the allergies. What I find the most hard is my kids didn’t know Fig Newtons or Gatorade until these past 4 weeks. I find that homemade popcorn in brown bags is one of the cheapest snacks to make that kids still love. xo

  4. Reply

    Jenn

    YES!!! Thank you so much for the great ideas! Is it bad I feel like giving sugar to a child is like give them cocaine? (Just starting the addiction)
    I used your links to get some fun things for my neighborhood kiddos! Especially love the foam planes since I work in aviation 🙂

    1. Reply

      Lisa

      The planes are such a fun idea! It’s impossible to not give kids sugar IMO but we just try our best to limit it when we can : ) It’s so hard though!

  5. Reply

    Jason R

    Amazing and alot of great options and alot of my favorites on here

  6. Reply

    Kimberly Fe'Lix

    Girl, I clenched my pearls when I read the Oreos after soccer practice thing. I have seen this too and I am SOOOO confused. Like this is a sporting activity, what happened to the oranges? So, I starting making sure to be the very first parent to sign up for snack day. Figuring, I would set the example of what *should* be in those snack bags. I can can hope!

    1. Reply

      Lisa

      “Clenched my pearls” – hahahaha! I should hear that more in the south! Oranges wedges are fantastic. I agree, where did they go!?

  7. Reply

    AmyLovesOrganic

    We trade candy for an experience. We go to the trampoline park or movie and let our son just pick 3 candies. Our son mostly loves the trick or treat experience and counting and sorting the candy. ☺️

    1. Reply

      Lisa

      I love this idea – thanks Amy!

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