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8 Fun (and Cheap!) Halloween Candy Alternatives for Trick-or-Treaters

LED Finger Lights

Every year at about this time I start keeping my eye out for alternatives to give our neighborhood trick-or-treaters instead of candy. I’m not opposed to candy, but since most kids are going to end up with more than enough, I figure I could just as well spend that money on something unique. In the past that’s meant items like mini play doh (Costco), party bubbles (Target), and last year’s pack of miniature crayons (Michaels). This year I just placed an order on Amazon for LED Finger Lights. I’ve purchased them before on a flash deal. They’re pretty fun. Besides using them for these Valentine cards earlier this year, we’ve taken them camping and on trips, but even recently I’ve seen the kids playing with them around the house. This time I paid $11.99 (free shipping with Prime) for 80, making them less than 15¢ a piece. This is fairly comparative for what I would pay for certain snack-size candy bars anyway.

While I was looking around I spotted other possibilities for fun and/or useful alternatives. Here are some of my favorites (all free shipping with Prime), but be sure to check out your local dollar, party, and toy stores if you don’t want to buy online (or see my previous Cheap Halloween Alternatives post for more ideas).

foam toy glider kit

Foam Glider Assortment 12¢ each (Pack of 72) for $8.65. I almost decided to do these, they look so neat. Maybe next year!

neon zoo erasers bulk

Neon Zoo Animal Pencil Top Erasers 4¢ each (144 pc) for $6.17.

glowing bouncing balls

Glow-In-The-Dark Bouncing Balls 9¢ each (144 pc) for $13.45.

friendship bracelets bulk

Nylon Friendship Rope Bracelets 7¢ each (72) for $5.25

mini insect erasers

Mini Insect Erasers 4¢ each (144pc) for $5.52

rhinestone party rings
Colorful Rhinestone Rings
8¢ each (72pc) for $5.85

vinyl paratroopers
Vinyl Paratroopers Assortment
12¢ each (72pc) for $8.99

 


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Halloween

Are you ready to trick-or-treat? My preschooler sure is. For the past few weeks she’s wanted to wear the same mermaid costume as last year. Then yesterday on the phone with Grandma she said she was going to be Snow White! So this morning I hemmed up her Snow White dress (a Christmas gift from her Uncle AJ and Aunt Aundrea) from her dress up bin . I was going to top it off with a simple red headband, but Chloe pointed out that Snow White wears a red bow in her hair. Right! So I whipped one of those up during nap time. Now we’re ready to rock.

Oh, have you seen this skeleton maternity shirt? I totally love it and wish I had seen it while I was pregnant. So funny! Leo, who is almost 17 months, will be wearing a similar skeleton shirt (minus the fetus!) that glows in the dark. Happy Halloween!


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Halloween Activity Printables

We are preparing for a big trip next week. To help pass the time for Chloe, I’ve been printing some worksheets and activities. Education.com has lots of Halloween-themed printables (and other seasonal activities) that can be filtered by holiday and grade level. Here are a few samples:


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Free Halloween Wall Art Printables

Its October! Only 31 days until Halloween! My girl has been asking about it for months. She loves dress up and, of course, there is nothing like trick-or-treating. We’ve picked up a few things from the dollar store to decorate with, but here are three fun signs you can download and print right from your computer: Eat, Drink and Be Scary, I Love Halloween, and Trick or Treat.


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Fallen Angel / Dark Fairy / Witch

Chloe asked me if I was going to dress up for Halloween, and seemed quite disappointed when I replied no. After all, she LOVES dressing up. She already wore her Minnie Mouse outfit to dance class this morning and can’t wait to wear her mermaid costume this evening to trick-or-treat. She then told me I could be a witch, because she saw a black witch’s hat in our decorations box. So I said, okay, I’ll wear the hat. But now I’m thinking maybe I’ll take it a step further… maybe some face make-up, too. Then I found this awesome tutorial online. Yeah, I think I could rock that look… maybe. 🙂


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Halloween Pumpkins

Years ago, before we bought our house, we lived in a townhouse complex that had a pumpkin carving contest every year. David made an AWESOME pumpkin (like the one above in the lower right corner) by drilling holes and filling them with a string of electric lights (a la Martha Stewart “celestial” pumpkins). That year he won a $15 Starbucks gift card.

Just like last year, Chloe loves to spot pumpkins, and this year she knows what a jack o’lantern is, too. We are actually going to carve our pumpkins tonight, after dinner. Here are some images that I find inspirational this year:


Pretty Pumpkin


Lantern pumpkins


Skull jack-o’-lantern

 


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Make-Your-Own Cauldron Bubbles!


Download Halloween_bubble_labels 213 kB

Every Halloween I try to keep my eyes out for something out-of-the-ordinary to give away to our neighborhood trick-or-treaters. When I was a kid, I remember thinking, when I grow up, I’m going to give out full-size candy bars! That would be so cool! Except full-size candy bars now cost a lot more, and kids these days seem to be getting enough candy as it is. So I challenge myself with finding an alternative.

This year, we’ll be handing out “Cauldron Bubbles.”

I’ve considered mini bubble bottles before since they are so easy to find, except the ones I bought this year were not individually labeled. As I tend to over-think things, I began to worry that some kid without parental guidance might not realize what it is, or that it might be something to drink. So I whipped up these labels.

Feel free to download and print a set of labels to use for yourself – they’d be cute at a Halloween party, too!

Note: Keep in mind that these items might not be suitable for especially young children, so it might be good to have some candy on hand, just in case. 🙂
Skull image by WickedSunshine.com and used under the creative commons license.


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A Pumpkin Graveyard

pumpkin patch

From far away it doesn’t look so bad

David and I took the dog to The Pumpkin Patch on Sauvie Island to look for the perfect pumpkin. What we found was more like a pumpkin graveyard. I don’t know if it was because we showed up so late in the season or because they were truly having a bad pumpkin year, but what was left was an entire field full of mostly rotted pumpkins. So disappointing! The last time we were there was amazing – the excitement of criss-crossing the patch, a sharp eye out weighing all the possibilities, enjoying the crisp autumn weather and the free hay rides…

In the end, we did find two small, nicely shaped pumpkins – an orange one for David and a white one for me. We also bought lots of fresh farm produce: fall apples, turnips, cabbage, onions, shallots, hazelnuts, and brussel sprouts still on the stalk. It was also fun to see the farm animals. The goat in particular couldn’t take his eyes off of David sucking on a honey stick. My favorites were the black and pink baby pigs, the clucking chickens and the beautifully large and feminine eyes of the llama. Why wasn’t I blessed with eyelashes like that? Throw in one pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw and a caramel apple and it was a worthy trip after all.

frog

David spotted a bright green frog in the field

oregon hazelnuts

Oregon is the nation’s largest producer of hazelnuts

fresh fall apples

A huge bin of fresh and crisp fall apples

pumpkins

Our final pumpkin choices – one white and one orange

Tips for picking the perfect pumpkin:

1. If you’re going to carve it, choose one to match your design – a tall oval for a vertical design or a wide rounded one for a horizontal design.

2. Make sure it can stand up by itself. A tipsy one can be a pain to brace and carve properly.

3. A decent size stalk is helpful for lifting the top off when carving and lighting.

4. Double check for any soft spots, and be sure any blemishes are around back where they won’t be seen.

Happy Halloween!


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Easy Halloween Fun on a Mac

inverted mac screenshot

Want to have a little fun by dressing up your mac in orange and black for Halloween (and giving your co-workers and boss a good scare in the process)? Here’s how:

1. Click on System Preferences in your dashboard (the silver rectangle icon with the apple logo on the right and a light switch on the left).

2. Click on Universal Access, shown near the bottom right corner, in the “System” catagory.

3. Now click the radio button for White on Black under the “Display” catagory.

This will automatically “invert” the colors on your screen. For example, anything that was once white, will now be black. If you want to change your desktop color to invert to orange, like the picture above, you have to start with a blue background (because blue inverts to orange).

To do this go to “System Preferences” and choose “Desktop & Screen Saver” near the top under the Personal catagory. Then choose any blue background under “Apple Images.” Repeat the steps above to “invert” and then show off your spooky computer.

To change back, simply click again on the “Black on White” radio button under Universal Access.


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Unique & Funky Halloween Candy Alternatives

eye balls bowl
Last year we did not give out candy for Halloween. Instead we found a package of 80 mini play-dohs in a variety of colors at our local Costco. It was nice to give out something different for a change, and the neighborhood kids were really excited to be getting items other than the same old traditional candy.

This year I was hoping to find another interesting, yet affordable alternative. If only I had stocked up during some of the back-to-school sales this fall! There were bins filled with fun pencils, erasers, mini-notebooks, crayons, and stickers for cheap. Now, they’re no where to be had. Party store favors would be a good place to check – a flyer that came today featured a 60ct bag of plastic spider rings for 99¢ (although these might be a possible choking hazard). And Target sells this pack of 24ct party bubbles for $3.99.

party bubbles

play-doh

eye balls candy

Anyway, today at Costco, I decided to revert to candy. Despite this post, I’m not against candy. I’m just against the boring, uninspired kind. For $8.99 comes this pack of 90ct individually wrapped Absolute Sweet “Eye Ballzz” gummy candy. Aren’t they so funky and gross? David tried one, and yes, they’re edible. I don’t know how many parents will actually let their kids eat them, but I’m sure the kids will get a kick out of getting them!

Meanwhile, for those of you who would truly like to give candy alternatives, here is a list compiled from nationalserviceresources.org and palmettohealth.org.

  • Temporary tattoos
  • Stickers
  • Pencils
  • Fancy erasers
  • Pencil toppers
  • Crayons
  • Coins (pennies, nickels, dimes)
  • Small novelty toys
  • False teeth
  • Superballs
  • “Slime”
  • Miniature magnifying glasses
  • Plastic jewelry/decoder rings
  • Necklaces
  • Glow-sticks
  • Sugar-free candy
  • Tiny decks of cards
  • Plastic medals
  • Fake money
  • Origami paper & instructions
  • Bubbles
  • Granola bars
  • pretzels
  • cheese and cracker packs
  • sugar free gum
  • packets of instant hot chocolate or cider
  • miniature raisin boxes
  • single serving nut packets
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