5 not-so-scary ways to celebrate Halloween with your toddlers

A Fit Mess
October 26, 2016

Last year, our girls were a bit too small to fully understand Halloween. They loved dressing up for the occasion and really enjoyed wandering around our neighborhood block party. We went trick-or-treating to ONE house and our neighbor was dressed as a banana which seemed to take the girls by surprise. I still remember the look on their faces. It was pretty hilarious. After that we went home and had some gluten free brownies that I made earlier that day. Easy-peasy.

Those faces – they were so small!

A Fit Mess
Halloween 2015

This year, the girls seem pretty excited about Halloween. While I know they are mostly excited about wearing their costumes outside of the home, I suspect they are also wondering what “treats” they will get. To date, they have had very little candy – aside from chocolate chips during potty training (<– a necessity!) and the occasional Dum-Dum or gummy bear (I love this kind!).


While they do enjoy the Paleo goodies we make at home and other GF snacks, they aren’t aware that the brightly colored wrappers strategically placed at eye level in the checkout line are candy (don’t even get me started on that). When they ask me what it is, I usually say it’s for big kids or adults. Other times I’ll say, “It’s not good for your body.” So far this has worked. 🙂

A Fit Mess
October 2016

We are planning to attend the annual Halloween parade and potluck in our neighborhood. The kids will get to dress up in their costumes and there will be a fun party with games, prizes, and food. I look forward to this gathering every year because it’s so much fun for the kids (and parents, too!). I also love that it puts the focus on activities and community – not sweets. If the girls are up for trick-or-treating we can visit some of our neighbors (hopefully banana-man). Yes, I’ll likely let them have a piece of candy or two (provided it’s gluten/dairy free), but I’ll be ready with some better alternatives at home, too.


If you have little ones and are trying to avoid making candy the center stage on Halloween, here are 5 fun ways to celebrate the occasion:

1. Watch a “spooky” or festive Halloween show. Pair it with some homemade popcorn (we make ours on the stove with coconut oil and olive oil). If you’d prefer to have it pre-made, I am mildly obsessed with SkinnyPop (who isn’t?).

2. Prepare little goodie bags that include some non-candy items like fun Halloween-inspired books, stickers, bubbles, and toys. Throw in some fall snacks like these gluten-free bars, individual raisin packs, and applesauce pouches.


3. Stock your house with non-candy items for the trick-or-treaters. Let the kids help hand out the goodies and show off their costumes. There’s so much to see!

4. Go to the movie theater. I love this idea because going out to the movies isn’t something we often do, so it is a special occasion. I think it could be a fun family tradition for Halloween. What’s better than cozying up with some popcorn and kid snuggles? Plus, movie theaters have changeddddd. They are way more fun now (especially for adults!). Local readers: I’m a big fan of Silverspot.

5.  Attend a neighborhood or school Halloween party. Gathering together with other kids and parents is a win-win. Your kids can run around and play with other children and you can have some adult conversation. And even though there will likely be tons of sweets and candy around, it’s easy to screen the items and keep your child from going crazy.

Want to make a sweet treat for you and your little monsters? Try one of these delicious desserts! Links below.

Pumpkin creme bars by My Whole Food Life

Chocolate almond joy bars by Elana’s Pantry

Ooey gooey chocolate chip pumpkin bars by PaleOMG

Nut butter cups by Elana’s Pantry


What are some of your favorite not-so-sugary ways to celebrate Halloween?

Parents of older kids: how long can I live in this fantasy that I will forever be able to shield my little ones from candy?

Any tips for controlling the candy-chaos? 

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