Every year on Halloween, I cheerfully hand out candy to a few hundred variations on baby bees, gory zombies and cute animals walking on two legs and shouting “Trick or Treat!” while stuffing a bag or bucket in my face as my dog barks in the background.
I grew up on a dead-end street that was usually skipped by trick-or-treaters, so I love that my neighborhood draws a huge crowd even in awful weather. On nice Halloween evenings, my neighbors and I usually draw up a fire pit, some chairs and a few beers in our driveways to watch the parade of kids and parents passing.
Usually, there are at least a few kids who come up and say, “No nuts, please!” or “No chocolate!” Or you have the tiny tots out for the first time being carried or carted in a wagon. The kids who will put anything in their mouth, but are probably too young for most Halloween candies.
I’m sensitive to this, so we usually have a couple bowls of candy. One is chocolatey and peanuty deliciousness. One is usually tootsie rolls, dots, suckers or bubble gum. I’ve always figured this was an easy way to allow all kids to enjoy the holiday.
Put out a Teal Pumpkin
A few years ago I learned of the Teal Pumpkin Project, but I’ve never participated because it seemed more expensive or more work than buying several big bags of candy at the store. But as my husband and I started discussing the idea this year, I started looking into affordable options to hand out that won’t get too many “uh, lame” looks from the little goblins or send anyone into anaphylactic shock.
Bonus: A lot of these ideas will be great for my kid’s preschool classmates too, since I don’t want to hand a 2 year old a chocolate bar if I can help it!
So if you want to participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project, here are several non-food treat ideas and links to affordable Amazon listings I found with bulk buys (note: prices/availability may change, but this should get you started).
In most cases each item is less than 50 cents, sometimes substantially. And some of them are even good for the “big kids” clinging to childhood one Halloween longer.
I’ve handed these out to daycare aged kids before and they were obsessed. These small stamps come pre-inked (with washable ink, because kids) and ready to stamp on their hands or paper. They’re cute enough even bigger kids can enjoy decorating with them. And you get 50 Halloween stamps for less than $10 on Amazon — that’s less than a quarter each!
The obvious fun here is stuffing a pair of plastic vampire fangs into your mouth and slurring “I vant to suck your blood.” But if you want to be really extra this Halloween, grab some donuts and black icing to draw on eyes and stuff the fangs in the center. Amazon has a few packs of 144 vampire fangs for less than $10.
Kids of every age love glow-in-the-dark things. Plus, these are great as the light starts to fade on Halloween night. This set of 100 glow bracelets is about $8 right now on Amazon — that’s less per piece than a bag of fun size candy bars.
Stickers or Tattoos
Seriously, my 2 year old would absolutely be more excited about a big pumpkin sticker than a Snickers. And temporary tattoos are so cool to a kid. This set of 6 dozen glow-in-the-dark Halloween tattoos would be great to hand out, and for less than $5 you could afford to give a few to each kid.
Pencils & erasers
This may feel like a cop-out, but at least it will be useful. Plus, you can usually find holiday themed pencils and/or erasers in big packs at the Target dollar spot, dollar store or really most stores around this time of year. These colorful Halloween pencil toppers are cute and cheap, if you want to go that route.
Don’t forget to set out a teal pumpkin or put up a sign letting neighbor kids know your house has these options available! Here’s a page to learn more about participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project.