This Halloween we want to make teal the new orange by encouraging families to give out non-food treats so that this holiday can be fun and safe for all. But exactly what kind of treats are we talking about? Depending on your neighbourhood and how many trick-or-treaters you get at your door, non-food options can get expensive, but if you do a little advance planning, they shouldn’t cost significantly more than candy. If you shop smart, you might even save money!
Haunt your local dollar stores and check out what they have. If you’re a real forward planner, you can even buy stuff in bulk from the same wholesalers who supply your local dollar, party and toy stores.
Here are a few non-food treat ideas for you to consider:
Halloween mini-comics. In recent years, comic book specialty stores have started selling bagged packs of 25 to 30 half-size mini-comics especially for Halloween. The content can vary from superheroes to funny animals to manga and mild scary stuff.
Party-favour toys. Buy these in multipacks at the dollar store instead of the multipacks of sugary treats two aisles over. If they’re good enough for birthday loot bags, they’re good enough for Halloween!
Regular small toys. If you’re lucky, you can sometimes find 10- or 20-packs of die-cast metal cars, plastic dinosaurs or other small toys at a unit price not significantly different from Halloween chocolate bars or other candy.
Sports and collectible cards. Lately, major dollar stores have started selling big packs of mixed sports or collectible fantasy game cards. A couple of these in a trick-or-treat bag is far more exciting than another roll of candy.
Sticker sheets. You can never go wrong with stickers! Either buy them in rolls and cut them, or buy sticker books at the discount store and separate out individual pages.
Crayons. Especially if you can find small-sized packs. Goes perfectly with colouring books or individual colouring pages!
Small notebooks, pencils, pens and erasers. Buy multipacks from the dollar store school supply aisle and give them out individually as if they were candy. Don’t buy the novelty erasers that look like candy, because… yeah.
Pre-read comics and magazines. Do you or your kids have piles of old Archies and Spider-Mans gathering dust in a closet? Obviously we’re not suggesting you give away highly sought-after collectibles, but relatively few comics actually fall into this category, so the chances of you giving away a priceless treasure are almost nil. Do make sure that they’re suitable for all ages, or at the very least, sort them by age-appropriateness. You can do the same thing with back issues of kids’ magazines like Owl, Chickadee or Ranger Rick. No! You’re not being cheap, you’re repurposing and giving kids something they really want!
See? That wasn’t so scary, was it? Now you’re ready to paint the town teal and make your little ghosts and goblins happy without any worries about their allergies!
For more Halloween tips, check out our Halloween section!