Tricks or Treats: What is Worth Giving This Halloween?

Tricks or Treats: What is Worth Giving This Halloween?

By: Sarah Zitin

We all know that sugar isn’t good for us, but we continue to eat it. Why? Because it tastes so good! What if I told you that you can give treats this Halloween which are resourceful and less harmful than candy? And if candy is your thing, at least buy Fair Trade and organic sweets for the kids in your neighborhood. It makes more sense than paying dental bills!

Not all sweets are the same. There are as many healthy Halloween treats as there are unhealthy treats. When given the choice, why not choose healthy teeth and body over sugary treats this Halloween. Or why not find

tricks or treats that give back? What a concept!

What Halloween Treats are Worth Giving This Year?

What about giving kids something worthwhile and fun? These are some ideas on how to nurture and entertain your kids this Halloween without candy:

  • Beads and String
  • Finger Puppets
  • Vampire Teeth
  • Playdough
  • Lego
  • Glow Sticks
  • Bubbles
  • Stickers. 
  • Pumpkin Erasers. 
  • Foam Masks. 
  • Halloween Rubber Duckies. 
  • Squishies. 
  • Glow-in-the-Dark Temporary Tattoos. 
  • Halloween Sunglasses. 
  • Jack-o-Lantern Foam Putty.

Giving Back on Halloween

Children love to play, of course, and getting into the habit of buying them healthy, useful, playful treats for Halloween are always a great way to keep them engaged. In addition, Halloween is the perfect time to encourage your kids to learn about giving back to those less fortunate. 


1. Gratitude: Get involved by donating your Halloween candy to the troops. You can even host a GIVE-BACK, which is a way to collect candy to send as part of care packages. All you have to do is mail your leftover candy to Operation Gratitude, and they will send it in with care packages to be sent to the troops.

2. First Responders: Another way to participate is by volunteering to deliver Halloween candy in your community to First Responder workers. This is a great way to show kids how to say “thank you” to their local heroes.

3. Meals on Wheels: Meals on Wheels has been giving food to seniors who are not able to get it for themselves since 1954! Many locations accept Halloween candy donations and they’re always looking for volunteers to help make life just a little less spooky for those who live alone. You can find your nearest Meals On Wheels branch here.

4. Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption: Instead of giving candy, hand out Frosty Boo Book coupons. Each book, which includes 5 free Jr. Frosty coupons cost only $1. It’s important to know that $0.85 of every $1 purchase goes toward the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. This generous foundation helps kids in foster care find permanent homes with their, hopefully, forever families.

5. Goodwill: After Halloween is over and if you have costumes and accessories that are in good condition, pack them up and take them over to your local Goodwill Donation Center. Goodwill is a great place to donate to because they give more than 88 cents of every dollar earned to create employment placement, job training programs and support services for people who face challenges finding employment. When you donate to Goodwill you are helping people go to work.

6. Seniors: Carve pumpkins for those at your local senior center. Seniors love to interact with kids, and kids enjoy hanging out with grandparents and elders. It’s a win/win gig. You can also bring your pet to a senior center – make sure it’s okay with the staff – dogs and cats make seniors more cheerful and content.

7. Donate: Compile your old costumes and donate to a shelter or a Boys & Girls Club. There’s always a child that needs that costume, and recycling Halloween costumes is also eco-friendly.

8. Children’s Hospital: Take the kids to trick-or-treat at a nearby children’s hospital where they can  give healthy and safe toys to kids unable to get outdoors. Before you go, make creative Halloween cards for children that are ill, reminding them of how important and special they are. It will light up their eyes in an instant!

9. Fair Trade Treats: Select Fair Trade candy and treats to support companies who pay their workers fairly and offer healthy working conditions. This supports the eco-friendly supply chain from manufacturing to your mouth.

10. Walk for a Cause: Why not rally your friends and join one of the many costume marathons or walks dedicated to a variety of causes? October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and many of these rallies incorporate colorful costumes. 

11. Operation ShoeBox: This organization also accepts candy donations to share with deployed troops for the holidays. Mom and dad, take those sugary treats away and give them to our troops, who deserve to be acknowledged for their noble contributions to Democracy.

What Can You Do with Old Halloween Candy?

The next time people ask if they can donate candy, share these 11 simple ways to give back at Halloween. I hope this encourages you to participate in the spirit of giving back not only during the holidays but all year long. Family Halloween costumes, accessories and even healthy candy and treats can be donated to women’s shelters or children’s hospitals. Toys, clothing, books and other useful items that are safe and healthy are also welcome.

Be Bold and Original

Encourage your neighbors and neighborhood to give mindful and meaningful treats this Halloween. Ask kindly if your neighbors are willing to do something for their neighborhood, children or the elderly in need, or if they can donate old Halloween costumes to children who may need them – in other words, Halloween can become as much about giving as receiving. Children love to be active and engaged, and many of them are empaths who get pleasure from making others happy. 

Who ever said Halloween had to be about candy? We’re creative beings who can make Halloween whatever we want it to be. Giving back on a communal level, and even educating your children about why it’s important to give back, is more valuable than a Mars Bar any day! Your kids learn by your example, and if you teach them about the art and beauty of giving, they will learn to incorporate it into their daily lives. What is worth giving this year is your time, love, compassion and energy to those who are not able to do it for themselves. In a world full of challenges and climate change, that matters a great deal!