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Sep 22, 2016 03:41PM

Trick or treat? Tricks to cut back on the sweets not the treats!

By Laura Anderson Shaw and Chris Cashion
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Todd Mizener / tmizener@qconline.com

Chocolates and hard candies and gummies oh my! Halloween is packed with so many sugary treats that even the gingerbread man in his gingerbread village would blush. For the most part, all of them are A-OK in moderation, but how in the world can you slow the centrifugal force of candy on Halloween?

For starters, you can control the treats that you provide. Whether you're toting treats to your child's school, entertaining a houseful of little ghouls or simply answering the door on All Hallows' Eve, we've got plenty of ideas to help you keep the "treat" in "trick or treat" no candy required!

Organic fun dough. Feeling crafty? Make organic craft dough with flour, salt and water, call it something cute such as Ghost Goo, and package it in individual portions for your trick-or-treaters. Depending on how many containers you'll need, you can use small jelly jars or tiny plastic containers. Be sure to label them so their recipients know not to eat it! Visit growingagreenfamily.com/inexpensive-eco-craft-homemade-organic-dough for instructions.

Organic juice boxes or pouches. Give the little goblins a healthy and refreshing brew to enjoy this All Hallows' Eve.

Cookie cutters. Just because your neighbors may be sticking to the cookie-cutter tradition of handing out candy on Halloween doesn't mean you have to. Instead, hand out cookie cutters! Fun shapes abound, including bats, pumpkins, ghosts, cats and more.

Soy or beeswax crayons. If you only have a handful of trick-or-treaters, soy or beeswax crayons may be just the ticket for coloring your Halloween. They can be a little pricey, so they may not be a good option if you get hundreds of sprites visiting your doorstep. But if you know you have only a select few stopping by, or only wish to snag them for your children or kiddos in your family, brighten their Halloween with some new colors! If you're not having any luck finding them locally, a quick internet search will provide dozens of online shopping options.

Honey sticks. These sweet treats are a fun alternative to candy plus they come in a form that is reminiscent of old fashioned Pixy Stix but without the processed sugar and artificial dyes and flavors.

Lip balm. There are many natural and organic lip balm alternatives to choose from these days, and they are widely available at area stores, including the Hy-Vee HealthMarkets throughout the area, Greatest Grains in Davenport, Heritage Natural Foods in Moline and Davenport, and the Quad Cities Food Hub inside the Freight House in Davenport.

Jokes or fortunes. Use recycled or scratch paper to print a variety of child-friendly jokes (think knock knock jokes and silly riddles) and fortunes. If you find yourself wanting for ideas, the internet abounds with them.

Pencils. A number of area stores carry pencils printed with festive designs. Many even come in packs of a dozen or more, making them an easy and inexpensive way to treat a host of trick-or-treaters.

Granola bars. Individually wrapped granola bars make great snacks. Many varieties include chocolate and caramel, but they're paired with protein and fiber, too!

Tea, cocoa or cider packets. While still on the sweet side, tea, cocoa, cider and other pouches of drink mixes will give kiddos something tasty to enjoy and help them warm up on a chilly late-fall evening.

Popcorn. Hit the snack aisle of your grocery store of choice for individual packs of popcorn. Many varieties come already popped (and in bulk for easy lunches!), but un-popped bags would make nice treats, too.

Cups or mugs. Snag some festive, reusable beverage glasses for your trick-or-treaters to wash down their treats in style. Many stores offer packages of holiday cups for fairly low prices, making them a cinch to throw in the mix. Check out thrift stores, too just be sure to give them a wash before you give them away!
Laura Anderson Shaw is the editor of Radish. Chris Cashion is a writer on staff with Radish.

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