Well, we are coming to the hardest part of the year for my family. The season of joy, filled with parties, crafting, candy, pie, fudge, peppermint ice cream, buck eyes, shortbread, toffee, and gingerbread, all sprinkled with more sugar.
What’s not to love right? That all sounds fabulous!
It is also temptation and hidden dangers for many kiddos, especially those with allergies. Try going trick or treating or hosting a party with someone who can’t have peanuts-its eye opening! Almost everything either has peanuts or is made on the same equipment as peanut filled candy. These poor little guys are getting left out!
While my family isn’t dealing with food allergies, we do have restrictions concerning sugar. Since we’re on a low glycemic & non-dairy diet, store bought candy is pretty much out of the picture. Which means trick or treating is too.
Or is it?
There’s a new campaign going on called ‘The Teal Pumpkin Project’. Its main objective is to help kids with food allergies be included in the spooky fun. Luckily for us, it also covers sugar issues, so my little ones have a chance to join in too! I did a happy dance when I first heard about it last year.
The basic idea is to have small non-food items available for trick or treaters. That way they don’t have to worry about what’s in it at all! Then you print off a teal pumpkin for your door or paint a pumpkin teal, to advertise you have allergy safe items. Easy right!?
*You can print off an already colored pumpkin or you can save ink by coloring this one.
I did some research trying to decide what items I wanted to give out this year. I aim for $12 or less, since that’s what I typically spent on candy in past years. I found it best to look for piñata filler toys or party favors, they were cheapest either online at amazon or in store at partyland. Here’s what I came up with.
* I had to cut my list down since several items on my original list are no longer available today when I went to add the links, so you might want to hurry if you plan on using amazon.
15 Frugal Alternatives to Candy
1. Glow Sticks (or bracelets)
These are my favorite! Last year I just picked up a few tubes of glow sticks from Target’s dollar spot. Each tube has a count of 15, making it $0.06 per stick! Halloween treats cost me $5 last year and were a big hit! I thought that I might get some really disappointed kiddos at my door, but all the kids got excited when they saw glow sticks. They were tired of the same candy options, I guess. We even had some extras (we don’t get a ton of visitors) so instead of having a bunch of candy around that we shouldn’t eat, we had a favorite toy on hand. Win-win!
2. Punch balloons
These are almost the most expensive item on here, but my kids love these things, so I think it’s totally worth looking at. It’s a great sensory item for young ones and will give a lot more pleasure than a moment of chocolate. This set of 50 on Amazon cost the same as a couple bags of candy ($10.95)-so it’s not a big splurge for those who want to give something nicer. Plus hold onto any extras and save for Christmas or unexpected party invites. These make great fillers for young ones presents.
These are the same price as the punch balloons, and on here for the same reasons. They’re a great sensory toy while also comparatively cheap. I bought a bag to use as a stocking stuffer for my son last year and I’ve found several occasions to use them since. Birthday presents, party favors, quiet toy at church-any extras can help you save money later. ($0.22 per slinky at amazon)
4. Tattoos and stickers
These are one of the cheapest options out there. I found a roll of 100 stickers at Party land for $2.50. That makes these $0.03 each! They were metallic even, I know my little man would love some of those. Walmart had a bag of 42 tattoos for $5 ($0.12), and amazon has 72 glow in the dark tattoos for $8 ($0.12).
The price on jewelry can be all over. I found a bag of 144 rings for $5.55 with prime shipping, making it only $0.03 a ring. So if you’ll get a bunch of trick or treaters that might be worth looking into. Party land had some smiley face rings for the same price, plus some jelly bracelets for $0.04 per piece. It was real easy to get into $0.30 per ring if you looked at the light up varieties as well.
I found these on amazon and at partyland for the exact same price, 144 for $7 ($0.05 a piece)and free prime shipping on amazon if you add it to another order. I’d prefer to get them in person since I found some bags had weird shaped pieces. In person I could be a bit picky and find a bag with better poppers.
These were $2 cheaper on amazon, 144 for $5.99 ($0.04 per fish). If you have a little fish lover like my Sir Bounce-a-lot you’ll know how awesome this is. They are vibrant colors and the tail can fit on little fingers for them to swim around on.
8. Sling shots
Notice the word mini in the description on this one, the mini ones are tiny! I had no clue til I saw them in person, they’re about 1” long and ¼” wide. They still look really fun so I added them as well. These were slightly cheaper at partyland (a bag of 144 for $8 v $8.25) but it had free prime shipping on amazon.
We also like the big frog slingshots. They were cheaper at partyland, we picked up a bag of 12 for $3.75 ($0.31 per frog). The price for the whole bag was lower than most others, keeping the overall budget lower. It also adds more variety to our cauldron without too many left overs.
9. Spin Tops
10. Bouncy balls
These are pretty low per item, but you have to buy a big bag, so it might not be worth it. Partyland had a bag of 144 for $14 ($0.10 per ball). We love balls over here, so it’ll likely be a hit with most kids.
11. Pom poms
This is another sensory item, and could be a handy toy when quiet is needed. Partyland had 72 for $8.50 ($0.12 per pom). Throw in a bag of candy or a few tubes of glow sticks and you’re good. They’ll fill up your bowl pretty well.
12. Lip whistles
These are another Sunny pick, so this is not just for the boys! These are really fun little skate boards that the kids love to finger board with all over the house. Partyland had a bag of 36 for $5 ($0.14 per board) while amazon was $6.68 ($0.19 per board).
14. Variety pack
This one is for those who want a bunch of different options for the cute roving monsters. It’s currently sold out on amazon, but I saw the exact same thing at partyland for the same price. $14 for a bag of 100 toys ($0.14 per toy). It has a lot of variety but much of it looks a bit cheap so you might not care for any of the extras.
15. Finger lights
We had some friends give these out last year and most of the kids loved them! Amazon has a couple of viable options, a pack of 40 at either $6.45 as an add on item ($0.17 per light) or $7.89 with free prime shipping ($0.20 per light). They do tend to lose their bands but I dare say they’ll give joy a lot longer than piece of candy would have.
As you can see there are a lot of good (and frugal!) options available to hand out to those cute visitors while also helping those with dietary restrictions. I’m really excited to be a part of the teal pumpkin project this year and can’t wait to see how big this gets! Let’s all have a fabulous ‘Old Hallows Eve’!