For kids, Halloween is pretty much synonymous with “candy,” but that’s kind of a bummer if they have any kind of
food allergy. You can help make the holiday more fun (and much safer) for these kids by handing out alternatives to Halloween candy to your trick-or-treaters instead. Plus, not only will kids with food allergies feel included, but kids without any allergies will still enjoy the treats just as much.
As someone with a nephew who has a life-threatening peanut allergy, I always stock up on alternatives to Halloween candy for trick-or-treaters, because I know how hard the holiday was on him when he was little, and how
scary it was for his parents. Food allergies are extremely common, and over the years I’ve seen so many kids and parents smile when they see my bucket of non-food goodies for the kids to choose from. It’s not just the food-allergy kids that love these treats, either, because I usually run out of toys long before I run out of candy. (Pro tip: have separate bowls for candy and toys to avoid cross-contamination).
If you decide you’d like to offer kids alternatives to Halloween candy this year, you can even register your home with the
Teal Pumpkin Project, which provides a map to parents that indicate which homes in their neighborhoods offer non-food treats. As for what kind of treats to give, here are some fun ideas to help you get started. We only include products that have been independently selected by Romper's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article. 1 Ribbon Sticks
Ribbon wands are so much fun for kids, and it’s also something that you can either buy somewhere or DIY if you have some spare time on your hands.
This specific pack comes with an assortment of wands in rainbow colors, but if you make your own you can use Halloween colors or create a variety of other color combinations (like pink and purple, blue and green, yellow and orange, and more). With a treat like this, chances are high that you’ll see a few neighborhood kids outside playing with the toy long after Halloween has passed (and all of their candy has been consumed). 2 Toy Cars
Okay, who doesn’t love a toy car? Especially when it’s the kind you pull back to watch it zoom forward after you release it. You can find these iconic toys in a lot of places, but
this particular pack comes with six cars in assorted colors that are made of fun see-through plastic. They’re so much fun, and you’ll probably be surprised by how quickly you run out of them since kids love them so much. One thing to keep in mind with these, though, is that since they’re smaller they’re best for kids over age 3, so you’ll want to have other options for the younger trick-or-treaters. 3 Pop-Up Toys
Do you remember playing with pop-up toys when you were a kid? In case you’ve forgotten how they work, they’re made with a base that has a spring attached to the top of it and a suction cup on top of that; you then push the top of the toy down (collapsing the spring) until the suction cup sticks to the base, and then you wait until the spring pushes the suction cup off and makes the whole toy bounce in the air. They’re a lot of fun, and you can find them in a bunch of different styles (like
these Mario characters). 4 Mini Coloring Books
Kids love to color, right? So, coloring books make for great treats on Halloween. There are a few ways to go about creating books for the kids, too. You can either purchase a
multi-pack like this one which includes 20 different mini coloring books, or if you have the time and the printer ink, you can print off free coloring pages at home and staple them together to create your own one-of-a-kind coloring books for your trick-or-treaters. There’s no need to hand out crayons with the coloring books (unless you want to, of course), because kids will just be excited to have an activity to look forward to when their candy tummy ache starts to set in. 5 Temporary Tattoos
There is just something about temporary tattoos that kids love, so adding a few to your non-food treat bucket is definitely a good idea. You can go with some Halloween-themed tattoos like
these or head over to the party favor aisle at the store and grab a few sheets with famous characters on them. Depending on how many you get, either pass them out by the sheet or cut them out into individual pieces (which helps make each sheet last longer). Just a heads up, though, they may sink to the bottom of the treat bowl, so remember to mix everything up throughout the night so you’re not left with a bunch of tattoos once trick-or-treating has ended. 6 Fun Balloons
For whatever reason, kids love balloons, so tossing a few into your treat bucket is definitely a good idea. Standard, solid-colored balloons are totally fine (kids aren’t picky), but if you want your non-food treats to stand out a little more, consider getting some that are a little different. These
jungle-themed printed balloons are a great option or you could stock up on some that have a metallic finish, polka dot prints, oversized balloons, or (if you want to get really fancy) balloons that are filled with confetti or that have glow sticks in them. No matter what kind you get, kids will love them (especially the younger ones). 7 Bead Maze
Do you remember doing these mazes when you were a kid? They were so hard, but they were also incredibly difficult to put down. Now, you can pass the fun activity on to the next generation because you can get
this pack of 18 for a very reasonable price. Each pack comes with 6 circle mazes, 6 square mazes, and 6 triangle mazes, all in bright colors. Kids will definitely be quick to scoop these toys up, but if you happen to have some leftover at the end of the night, well then just look at it as a challenge to see how quickly you can finish the maze. 8 Glow Sticks
What kid doesn’t love a glow stick? Actually, what adult doesn’t love a glow stick, too? Cracking them to activate the glow is so satisfying, and it’s so much fun to mix the colors to create cool necklaces and bracelets. Needless to say, they make for great non-food treats for Halloween.
This pack comes with 100 different glow bracelets with connectors, but there are plenty of other packs out there that offer a mix of bracelets, necklaces, rings, glow sticks, and more ( like this one). Just a heads up, though, you usually have to put the connectors on the end of each stick yourself, so plan accordingly. 9 Slime
Why kids love sticky, wet, gross slime is anyone’s guess, but they do so they’ll be thrilled to add a little bit to their Halloween haul during trick-or-treating. You can find slime in just about any store that carries party favors, and they’ll be available in a variety of colors, sizes, and some might even have little surprises hidden inside the containers.
This specific pack comes with 48 small containers of slime in several color options. If you go with this treat, though, just be sure not to mix it in with any candy (even if it’s non-toxic) and make sure you have other options for younger kids. 10 Stickers
You’ve gotta love stickers, right? Kids especially love them, so they make for great alternatives to Halloween candy for trick-or-treating. If you are doing a big mix of non-food treats, consider splurging on a few big stickers to add to the mix, like
this 3” rainbow. For something less expensive, head over to your local dollar store and pick up a few packs of stickers that feature different characters that kids love. One thing to note is that, like the temporary tattoos, stickers often sink to the bottom of the treat bowl (especially if you’ve cut them into small individual pieces) so be sure to mix it up throughout the night so they don’t get buried. 11 Squish Toys
Another thing kids just love? Squishy toys. But, honestly, who can blame them? Especially when they look as cute as the ones in
this 24-pack. These little guys come in an assortment of colors and animals (bunnies, elephants, piggies, birds, lions, bears, and more) and measure just over 1.5 inches. If you’re looking for something with more of a Halloween vibe, this 24-pack features witches, Jack-o-lanterns, bats, ghosts, and even eyeballs that measure around 2 inches. No matter which way you choose to go, you can be sure you won’t have any left at the end of the night because the kids will scoop them up quickly. 12 Play-doh
Play-doh is about as classic a toy as it gets, and you can get
15 mini containers in this pack. There are multiple colors in the pack and they also include little gift tags to put on the top (if you want the neighbor kids to remember who gave them the fantastic gift). Honestly, this is a pretty fantastic thing to include in your treat bowl, it’s right up there with full-size chocolate bars if you ask me. Plus, it’s something that can be played with by kids as young as 2 years old, so it’s a good toy to include for the younger trick-or-treaters. 13 Sunglasses
If the kids in your neighborhood are anything like my two daughters, they have more pairs of sunglasses than they know what to do with, but they will never say no to another pair. Toy companies must know this because there are a variety of inexpensive multi-packs available that you can definitely include in your treat bowl this Halloween. For example,
this pack comes with 24 pairs of sunglasses in a variety of colors with little embellishments on them, like sunshines and rainbows. Honestly, you’ll probably be amazed by how quickly these fashion accessories get snatched up by your trick-or-treaters. 14 Fidget Toys
Whoever the brilliant person is who invented fidget toys deserves some kind of medal, because kids love them and they happen to help a lot of them focus on tasks better. So, really, this toy could also be considered educational, plus it’s way better than trying to hand out pencils for Halloween. Fidget toys come in all kinds of designs, and you can get a variety of styles in
this 24 pack that features poppers, marble and mesh, spinners, rings, squishies, stretchy strings, and more. Chances are high that you’ll be cleaned out of these toys before the night is over, but if you have anything left then that just means you have something to occupy your hands with during your next Zoom meeting. 15 Jewelry
You can’t go wrong by adding a few pieces of inexpensive jewelry to your treat bowl on Halloween. These
10-pack bracelets come in different shapes (and are super affordable), but if you want something with a little more variety, there are plenty of options out there like slap bracelets, necklaces with bubble containers at the end, light-up rings, and more. Or, if you love a good DIY project, you can always make your own beaded bracelets in assorted colors to give your trick-or-treaters a truly one-of-a-kind toy this Halloween. Who knows, the jewelry may even make a perfect addition to their costume this year.
Handing out alternatives to Halloween candy is always a good idea because non-food treats are something every kid will enjoy, including the ones with food allergies who may be limited to what candy they can eat.