As Halloween creeps closer, candy is flooding the shelves of every grocery store, pharmacy, and gas station. From classics like Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bars and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups to seasonal favorites like candy corn, many households will be stocked with these sweet treats for the costumed crowds who will be ringing doorbells and shouting “Trick-or-treat!” on October 31st.
We might consider collecting as much candy as possible to be the ultimate Halloween experience, but that wasn’t always the expectation. Prior to the 1970s, candy wasn’t the only treat that you’d find in your plastic jack-o-lantern or pillowcase during the night. In the ’30s and ’40s, when trick-or-treating was just beginning to become a Halloween tradition,(1) it was customary to hand out cookies, fruit, cake, and even non-food items like toys and coins.(2) Nowadays, individually wrapped (and fun-sized) candies are the way to go!
While Halloween candy might be delicious, it’s also not very nutritious. If you’re looking for a healthier alternative to the typical trick-or-treaters’ fare, consider handing out mini pretzels, granola bars, fruit leather, trail mix, small boxes of raisins, or pre-packaged drink mixes like apple cider. Whatever you decide to pass out should be pre-packaged and fully sealed(4) – homemade treats might sound more tasty and festive, but most parents of trick-or-treaters going door to door will prefer pre-bought goodies.
This Halloween, many people will be dressing up as one of their favorite things – food! From couples’ costumes to pets, we’d love to see your food-related costume! Share your photo on Facebook or Twitter and tag Northern Illinois Food Bank – we’ll share our favorites!
(1) Nix, Elizabeth. “The Haunted History of Halloween Candy.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 31 Oct. 2014.
(2) Kawash, Samira. “How Candy and Halloween Became Best Friends.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 21 Oct. 2010.
(3) Nowak, Claire. “Halloween Candy Facts.”
(4) Dvorak, Theresa. “Three Healthier Alternatives to Handing Out Halloween Candy.” University of Utah Health Sciences Radio, The Scope, 24 Oct. 2016.