Halloween Ideas for Kids – 5 Candy Alternatives for Trick-or-Treaters

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Halloween Ideas for Kids

Kids always get a good deal of candy each year at trick-or-treating time. Sometimes I like to switch it up and give out something else, just to break it up.

Halloween ideas for kids

Five Candy Alternatives for Trick-or-Treaters

Glow sticks

Growing up, our trick-or-treat times always fell in the afternoons. Once I moved here, I realized that many communities (ours included) still trick-or-treat at night. That’s what makes giving out glow sticks bracelets for trick-or-treating so much fun. The kids get to use them right away and it’s fun to watch the whole street light up a little as they continue on down the road.


We handed out these party packs of Play-doh one year and were surprised at what a hit they were! Even the older kids got excited. Honestly, I wasn’t sure what kind of reaction I’d get, so I was very pleasantly surprised.

Halloween rubber ducks (and other novelties)

My kids both love rubber ducks of all kinds. It would be fun to get an assortment of Halloween rubber ducks. Maybe throw in an order of these cool Halloween sticky hands or something similar for the older kids.

Halloween-shaped pretzels

A few companies make individual snack-size bags of pretzels – and some even put out special Halloween-shaped pretzels this time of year. We currently have a pack of “Bats & Jacks” (pretzels shaped like bats and jack-o-lanterns).

Coupons for area restaurants

Several area fast-food restaurants offer Halloween coupon booklets for you to purchase ahead of time and pass out to trick-or-treaters. Or keep a few yourself for a discounted treat later. We won’t count. Check your nearest locations to see if they’re participating this year – and purchase these early, as they only have a limited number available.

• Wendy’s Halloween coupon booklets – Wendy’s usually has a $1 booklet containing 5-10 coupons for a free Jr. Frosty.

• McDonald’s Halloween coupon book contains 12 coupons (4 free apple slices, 4 free cones, 4 free apple juice or white milk jug). The coupon book costs $1.

• Burger King Halloween coupon booklets – In the past, Burger King has offered similar coupon booklets, but I haven’t been able to verify anything yet for this year. Let me know if you’ve seen them available for purchase at yours!

What other items have you passed out to trick-or-treaters?
I’d love to hear your Halloween ideas for kids!


  1. says

    I love handing out bags of microwave popcorn, juice boxes, cans of pop, small bags of chips, and whistles (the parents hate that one!). We live in a smaller community so we only get about 50 children.

    I think I will try the glow sticks this year! FUN! Thank you for the great idea.

    • Alissa says

      Those are great ideas! Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing. Let me know how the glow sticks go, if you try them this year.

    • Alissa says

      My kids received these last year – and they were definitely a hit! Thanks for stopping by and have fun trick-or-treating!

    • Alissa says

      No trick-or-treaters?!? NO!!! That’s kind of a bummer! Maybe you can make a few little gift bags and “boo” your neighbors. :)

  2. says

    We started doing the glow sticks last year after receiving them from a neighbor. Definitely a hit! In August, I found a bunch on clearance at Michael’s and stocked up. I’ve also done the Halloween pretzels which I like so much better than candy.

    I also like the idea of giving out playdough. I haven’t seen any though I haven’t been looking.

    • says

      I’ve seen the Halloween packs of mini play-doh at Kohl’s this year (back in the toys section). And there is a link to Amazon up in the post.

  3. Jenn says

    We rarely get trick-or-treaters so we stopped buying candy and picked up Halloween crayon packs, mini boxes of temporary tattoos, goofy glasses and other silly novelties. This way if we have only a few visitors we can stash the extras for the next year and not eat all the leftover candy ourselves!!!

  4. Karen says

    I love the glow stick idea! I NEVER had those while I was growing up, so I still find them exciting, and I think that kids would agree! haha

  5. says

    I love these ideas! I’m going to tweet them and share with my friends. :-) where do you buy your glow sticks in bulk? Do you have them already lit up when the kids grab them?

    • Alissa says

      Hi Chelsea! One year they had a sale on Woot.com, but I’ve also found them at Amazon. No, I give them out unlit and let the kids light them up themselves – that’s half the fun! Thanks for stopping by and for sharing!

  6. Wendy says

    I picked up the glow bracelets at Target in their dollar bins. 10 bracelets for a buck. Very popular. We have also ordered the carnival-type toys from oriental trading company and handed those out. When we lived in Montana we would get 500+ trick or treaters so it was important that the item we handed out was 10-15 cents each, and we didn’t want to do candy.

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