Halloween treats without tricks

Lots of choices for Halloween trick or treating-- some are better than others.

Lots of choices for Halloween trick or treating– some are better than others.

Trick or treating is a highlight of a kids’ year.  Who doesn’t want to load up on junk food?  As an adult, it’s not so simple.  Thinking about the environmental and ethical aspects of Halloween snacks is not such a treat.  But I love seeing all the neighborhood kids out roaming the streets with their friends—and often their families.

I don’t want to blow the fun by talking about the really scary aspects of food production, health and whatnot.  So—I’ve been quietly giving out familiar treats with smaller footprints.

Last year, we had an informal experiment: we have two families sharing one porch in our building and we both set out bowls of treats for kids to pick their own.  Our neighbor had a bowl of the usual candy bars (snickers, milky way, reese’s, etc) and we had a bowl of pretzels and lollipops.  (We thought kids would grab a treat from each bowl, but they were super polite and thought they had to pick from only 1 bowl.)  Lots of kids picked the pretzels or lollipops instead of the chocolate bars.  I was surprised!  I probably would have taken the chocolate when I was a kid.  But I think a lot of kids appreciated the novelty of the salty or fruity snacks.

Here are a few of my favorite veg Halloween treats

—the ones listed in bold have all made neighborhood kids smile; we’ll be trying out the others this year:

lollipops—YumEarth brand uses organic ingredients and natural flavors & colors {about 10-12 cents each)

pretzels—some brands come in Halloween shapes, like bats and pumpkins (13-25 cents each)

smarties  (less than 5 cents each)

gummy candies  (30-80 cents each)

juice boxes– made with organic juice (25-75 cents each)

toys!  mini-slinkies, colored pencils & markers (10 cents to $1 each)

 Many of these cost about the same as the more common treats, which I found at a big box store for 10-15 cents each.

Ingredients we’re avoiding in Halloween treats:

animal products including milk and gelatin

chocolate that isn’t fair trade

palm oil

corn syrup


Coming up next:  price comparisons to find real treats you can afford.  And this year, I’ll keep track of how many treats of each kind are given out.

We had a great Halloween with real treats that the kids loved– without the problems we want to avoid.