By Brandi M. Seals
You can be like every other parent out there and hand out the requisite handful of tootsie rolls, suckers, and other Halloween candy. Or, you could do something new. Why not spice up Halloween by bucking the trend. I am not suggesting you do anything crazy like hand out boxes of frozen fettuccini like Kirstie Alley does in her latest Jenny Craig commercial. But, there is room to be creative and come up with some good ideas.
When planning what to hand out, I really suggest avoiding handing out apples, bananas and other fruits. Most kids will be disappointed that the hand out is not cool enough for them and some parents may apprehensive.
There is a very prevalent urban legend that about strangers endangering children by imbedding razorblades in fruit, specifically apples, which were handed out on Halloween. I remember having to have all of my candy checked by my parents as a result. Really I think they were just picking out the treats that they wanted, but I will never really know.
Gift cards and gift certificates make as great handouts. I remember getting books of gift certificates to McDonald's as a child. I do not know if they still make them, but it is worth a try. A free ice cream cone is always an excellent gift. I have seen that Target has Halloween inspired gift cards available. They come in packs and can have as little as a dollar put on them or as much as you want. Check out other stores and see what you can come up with.
Themed pencils make for a wonderful handout. Remember when you were little and you had pencil's that were covered in designs? My school had a pencil vending box. Put a quarter in and get two pencils. I collected all the ones with butterfly and flower designs.
For your handouts stock up on Halloween inspired pencils or buck the trend and load up on Spiderman, Superman, or other popular design. On a side note, if you get pencils with a 'boy' design and one with a 'girl' design, let the kids pick which one they want. Just because girls are supposed to like pink butterfly pencils does not mean some would not rather have one with Spiderman on it. Trust me; my niece would be very disappointed if she had to miss out on her favorite superhero pencil.
Stickers are another great choice. What kid does not love stickers? Go to the local dollar store to find low cost sticker packs or stop off at a party store. You will be amazed at all there is to choose from. Take your child with you; she will know which ones kids will love.
Perhaps you could hand out candy, but do something creative with it. I can remember going to craft fairs with my mom and getting a candy airplane. It was made of two sticks of gum, a roll of Smarties and some other treats that had been rubber banded together to create the airplane. You could do something like that. Or, hand out chocolate suckers. I do not know if you could buy them anywhere, but several people make them and sell them at craft fairs. Stock up next time you go or learn how to make them yourself.
There are a number of treats you could make in your home that kids would love. As I mentioned before, do not be surprised if some parents are apprehensive about taking homemade treats. If you do not want to risk having your treats turned down, perhaps you could make them only for the kids you know well. Or, send some treats to school with your child for her class. Popcorn balls, cookies, and caramel apples are the usual homemade handouts. If you have ideas for different treats, by all means give it a try.
When all is said and done it does not really matter what you give out. Children just love getting dressed up and going door to door. Be sure to let neighbors know that you have treats to hand out by lighting a jack-o-lantern on your porch or leaving the exterior lights on. If you will not be home but still want to have something for the kids, try leaving a bowl of candy on the porch. I have seen one person do this and surprisingly everyone seems to only take their requisite one piece of candy.