During the candy-centered holiday of Halloween, trick-or-treaters will be dressed in costumes as they walk door-to-door to collect an array of goodies.
Candy is king on Halloween, so much so that for the holiday the National Retail Federation predicts that $2.6 billion will be spent on candy alone this year. Yet, there’s a growing trend of being more health-conscious on a day when candy becomes a free-for-all.
Some houses will keep their porch lights turned off on Oct. 31, but many neighborhood families are gearing up for the holiday with candy and non-candy options to keep with the spirit of fun.
In neighborhood Facebook groups, local residents shared how they would be treating costumed kids knocking on their front doors.
“We make bags with a candy assortment, but we always include Hershey’s chocolate. We make and give out 80 bags then turn out the lights,” Betty Richardson said. “One year, before we made bags, a child was thrilled by our huge bowl of chocolate bars. I was letting each child choose three snack-size bars, and he chose three Hershey bars. As he ran off to go to another house I heard him yelling, ‘Hey, guys! This house gives away chocolate.’”
Chocolate is a favorite Halloween treat for those big and small. According to a recent poll from Monmouth University, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are people’s top choice in candy. In second place is Snickers, followed by M&M’s. Hershey’s bars tied for fourth with candy corn.
“I’ll be giving out what I like,” Trinka Turnbow said, “old-school chocolate.”
Another area resident said she buys some candy, but mostly she gets snacks that kids can put in their lunch boxes like Goldfish, pretzels and popcorn.
Cassi Squyres said she buys the standard mixed bags of chocolates treats, but also has a stash of toys and bracelets for those who don’t want or can’t have candy.
“Honestly the toys are more popular,” Squyres said. “Last year we ran out of the light-up spider rings, little glow-in-the-dark bracelets, light-up bouncy balls and skull beads way before the candy.”
Many locals are jumping on the same train of including fun trinkets with their candy options, like witch’s fingers, eyeball balls, sticky toys, stickers, pencils, bubbles and even books.
“My stepdad would get books for the kiddos every year. The same kids would come back year after year looking for books,” Georgia Bownds said. “They called him the book man. They loved the books.”
Capri Sun pouches used to be a staple giveaway at LeeAnn Hickman’s house. She was able to get them at a good price and the kids loved them because of how thirty they would get walking through the neighborhood. But, on the first of November she would have to walk up and down her block picking up discarded containers, so she stopped.
Even though locals who give out treats other than candy said the little toys and trinkets are just as popular, if not more popular, a few people wondered how the kids really felt about it.
While acknowledging that kids are different today, Liz Christensen said that when she was a kid she hated and learned to avoid the houses that didn’t give out candy.
For people who want to give out candy and still be mindful of children’s health, the American Dental Association suggests chocolate because it washes off teeth easier than other types of candy. Dark chocolate would be even better because it contains antioxidants and less sugar.