[Candy corn photo: Brent Hofacker on Shutterstock]

All year we encourage our children to make healthy food choices. We read food labels like they hold the key to eternal life. We try to feed them a rainbow assortment of healthy fruits and vegetables, plus lean proteins and whole grains. Then, Halloween comes and all bets are off. Hoards of trick or treaters flood the streets of Minneapolis dressed as their favorite superhero or Disney character. So, why shouldn’t we fill their pumpkin buckets and pillowcases with sugar and additive laden, tooth rotting, kid crack?  Well, obvious sugar considerations aside, a recent study conducted by Lancet, a British Medical Journal, found that food additives like artificial food coloring and sodium benzoate increase hyperactivity in children and reduce their ability to control themselves. Most candy is loaded with these additives.  So, as you shop for Halloween goodies for the neighborhood kids this year consider the following alternatives.

Edible Treats

If you give trick or treaters food items they should always be pre-packaged and individually wrapped. It may seem like a good idea to give out apples or oranges or ziplock baggies full of homemade treats; but it’s not safe. Any smart parent will probably just throw those things out.

1. Pretzels. You can get a box with 60 individual bags for $24.99

2. Juice boxes- Make sure to get the “no sugar added” ones or you may as well get candy.

3. Granola bars

4. Fruit Leather

5. Popcorn.

6. Fruit or applesauce cups. Watch out for high fructose corn syrup. Its fruit and its already sweet.

7. Go-Go Squeezees– Applesauce in a squeezable pouch.

8. Cheese Sticks. Grab a sharpie and make them ghosts!

9. Cheese and Crackers packs

10. Honey Sticks. Sweet and delicious without the scary additives!

Non-food Goodies

Kids will love these not food alternatives and (bonus!) most of them are more budget friendly than food.

11. Stickers. Frozen is all the rage this year so these Frozen stickers might be just the ticket.

12. Stick on Tattoos. Kids love them.

13. Bouncy balls.

14. Glow Sticks or glow jewlery.

15.Fun themed Pencils.

16. Mini-bottles of Bubbles

17.Quarters, dimes, nickels, pennies are perfect. Drop a handful of pennies into a 3 year olds bucket and watch his eyes light up!

18. Mini-stampers. These are cheap and fun.

19. Chinese finger Traps. Remember these?

20.Character Band-Aids


22. Trading Cards. Pokémon is all the rage and baseball cards are still classic.

23. Bouncy Balls

24. Paper fans. You can get 4 dozen of these for 8 bucks.

25. Mini Decks of Playing Cards. These are awesome for roadtrips.

26. Crazy Straws

27. Mini-Playdough Tubs

28. Folding Fans. Four dozen for 8 bucks!

29. Finger Puppets

30. Crazy Eye Patches