No or low-cost solutions for Trick or Treat

No or low-cost solutions for Trick or Treat

One of the issues sometimes raised when we talk about offering healthier alternatives to trick—or-treaters is that buying better choices tends to be more expensive. That can be true, but it doesn’t have to be.

A very easy solution is to hand out less. Instead of allowing kids to grab handfuls, fill a bowl with various choices and allow children to pick their favorite. Children will enjoy sifting and choosing and you’ll save money. (Of course, handing out less means fewer resources used and less waste generated, too.)

Another is to forget about buying altogether.

One mom we know does a weekly sweep of her house for small toys, jewelry etc., collects them throughout the year and distributes on Halloween.

Lynn is a DIY nut (Corey says, “Don’t get too close to her or she’ll decoupage you!”), and likes nothing better than gathering the grandkids to make goodies. Why not try it for Halloween?

Another mom we know sits down with her daughters before the holiday and together they make dozens of friendship bracelets, bean bags and little stuffed toys that they add to their handout stash. (We love this idea not only because it saves money but because, as we say, “It puts the meaning in the greening.”)

Ask your kids what small treasure they’d like to receive, then find a way to make or find them inexpensively.

Children love anything tiny so mini-books, little bags of confetti or seeds from plants you grow, and “people” made from corks, wood balls and acorn caps can be a hit.

Other low-cost, non-plastic, non-food ideas (depending on the age of the child):

  • Pretty stones (make these into charms wrapping with wire and adding a jump ring)
  • Feathers (believe it or not, feathers actually are an all-time favorite of every age from toddlers to teens)
  • Beads
  • Homemade “play” dough
  • “Forever leaves” (encase them in wax, but leave them in a separate pile from other choices in bowl since they are a bit more fragile)


The main point is not to stress about the expense of Halloween treasures. Instead, make it an exercise in creativity and fun for you and your children, spending lots of time but little money.

Lynn and Corey

Lynn Colwell and Corey Colwell-Lipson are the mother-daughter team who launched the green holidays revolution. The duo are authors of the book, Celebrate Green! Creating Eco-Savvy Holidays, Celebrations and Traditions for the Whole Family and founders of National Costume Swap Day™ and the national non-profit initiative, Green Halloween®.

Note: This Perspectives Blog post is written by a guest blogger of The opinions expressed on this post do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Dr. Greene or, and as such we are not responsible for the accuracy of the information supplied. View the license for this post.

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