October 27, 2022

Why I Always Give Out a Non-Candy Item for Halloween

I’m firmly in the ‘candy is fun and a great sometimes treat’ camp and let my kids eat lots of candy every Halloween. Honestly, trick-or-treating is one of my favorite traditions—wear goofy costumes, visit all your neighbors, and collect candy. Plus, there’s no pressure to partake in some big family gathering, making it a perfect, laid-back holiday (at least how I celebrate it).

There’s nothing wrong with picking up a jumbo bag of candy at the store and handing it out as is. Some kids need to avoid gluten, and thankfully, there are plenty of gluten-free candy options. However, there are also children with life-threatening food allergies who can’t eat most commercially-available candy. The nice thing about homemade treats is that there’s more control over the ingredients, but there’s also the unknown there-could-be-absolutely-anything-in this-innocuous-looking-candy-apple danger that prevents people from accepting homemade goodies. And of course, there are parents who don’t want their children ingesting anything with dyes, preservatives, eggs, dairy, chocolate, sugar, processed ingredients, joy, fun, etc., etc.

Image created with the assistance of DALL·E, an AI system by OpenAI. Image background: https://labs.openai.com/s/qIhBDVfpU7P5ftcTt7jxLGda

My cousin* has type-1 diabetes, but that never deterred him from enjoying trick-or-treating. In fact, he was one of those kids who would bring a pillowcase instead of a treat bag for maximal candy-carrying capacity. After hours of collecting candy, he’d bring his haul home and carefully count the number of pieces he accrued. His parents would give him 10 cents for each piece of candy** and take him shopping the following weekend to get a cool toy.

It’s the joy of childhood that I most want to facilitate when celebrating any holiday. I hand out candy on Halloween since most kids are able to enjoy it, and I hand out a totally non-food trinket since some kids have special diets that I likely won’t be able to accommodate. And to avoid discriminating, I give both items to everyone.

This year, I’m handing out activity books with mazes, dot-to-dots, and coloring pages. I include my website on the booklets, even though I know approximately 0% of the kids who receive the activity books will look me up. And for those of you reading this who’d like a shot at doing the activities, you can download the booklet here:

Download the Beth Martin Books 2022 Halloween Activity Book

To everyone, whether you celebrate Halloween or not, have a happy and safe October 31st!

*Not actually my cousin, but that level of relation.

**To this day, I still have no idea what they did with all that candy. They certainly didn’t eat it all.

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