Choosing what the trick-or-treaters can pick out of your bowl is more complicated than it used to be. It's wise to have some non-food treats for kids who have food allergies, and for the kids who can happily accept the candy, there are so many choices to offer them.
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I've seen several suggestions for healthier Halloween candy, including a list from Greatist that suggests Twizzlers and Tootsie Pops are healthy choices because they have no fat (but are loaded with sugar and artificial dye) and mini-size versions of Heath, Nestle Crunch and Kit Kat are healthier because they are low calorie. We have such a fixation on low fat and low calorie being the most important things to look for in a healthy food that these suggestions pass as healthier Halloween treats.
"Healthier than what?" you may be wondering. I'm guessing healthier than a full-size candy bar. But, unless a parent monitors a child's consumption very closely, most kids will eat five or six mini candy bars in one sitting, upping the fat and calories consumed considerably.
What does a healthier Halloween treat really look like? It may look like an apple, but if you hand out apples, kids may smash your carefully carved jack-o'-lanterns. Or, parents may throw them in the garbage for fear of the now-mythical crazy neighbor with a box of razor blades.
Candy, at least the type of candy kids expect in their pillowcases (carefully stenciled from a pattern found on Pinterest), is going to have calories and very often fat. So, if you still want to give out candy, how can you make a better choice? My suggestion is to look to the ingredients that create the fat and calories in a candy, not just the fat and calories themselves. Here are a few choices for Halloween candy with better ingredients that won't get your house egged.
UnReal's Candy Coated Milk Chocolate Peanuts or Peanut Butter Cups: You may remember my review of UnReal's vegan dark chocolate peanut butter cups earlier this year. I said they taste better than a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, and I meant it. For Halloween, UnReal has a milk chocolate version of its peanut butter cup and a peanut M&M-ish; treat, too. The non-GMO ingredients in UnReal's candies come from dairy that's sourced from cows that are given no antibiotics, artificial hormones or rBST. They contain natural agave extract and Fair Trade-sourced cacao, cocoa butter and sugar. UnReal's Halloween candies are available online or at Whole Foods.
Yummy Earth Pops: If you end up having hundreds of kids come begging for candy, these are the economical choice for giving them a better-ingredient treat. These certified organic lollipops are made from real fruit extracts and are kosher and free from gluten, tree nuts, peanuts, GMOs, dairy, soy and artificial colors and dyes. Ordered from Yummy Earth online, a bag of 40 pops is $7.99, or if you're a Prime member, you can order them from Amazon with no shipping costs.
Equal Exchange Organic Milk Chocolate Minis with Touch of Hazelnut: Thanks to the popularity of chocolate-hazelnut spread, kids now are familiar with the lovely pairing that is milk chocolate and hazelnut. You may have to hand out two minis per kid because of their small size, but these individual treats are made with Fair Trade and organic ingredients. The cacao (cocoa beans) in the candy comes from farmer co-operatives in the Dominican Republic and Peru. The sugar and vanilla are also fairly traded and organic. The sugar comes from co-operatives in Paraguay and the vanilla from a co-operative in Madagascar.
None of these treats are healthy foods, but they are made with better ingredients than some of the traditional Halloween candies. If you want to hand out candy that won't make you as unpopular as the house that hands out pennies, these may be some of your best options.