October 28, 2013

Treat or trick


What to hand out at Halloween is always a dilemma. Should I give out healthy treats? Should I give in to popular demand and buy bags of candy at Target? And then there is always the possibility of leftovers to consider — as in, what do I want to have leftover for me to eat? I've mentioned before that for years I bought small boxes of raisins, which the little kids and their parents seemed to like a lot, but which the older kids scorned. One year I heard my next door neighbor, who was about 10, say to her friend, "don't go to that house. They always give out raisins." I felt like an outcast.


Then we discovered big Halloween sacks filled with small bags of Snyder's pretzels. Everyone seemed to like them, but they were hard to find, and some years they just weren't available. One year I went out and bought chocolate candy like everyone else. The kind of candy I really wanted was too expensive to buy in bulk, so I bought a few 'good' things for the kids whose parents I knew wouldn't let them eat junk, and everyone else got ... junk. But not only did I feel guilty, I had to haul the leftovers into work, because mostly the stuff wasn't even vegan. My co-workers appreciated it but I was sad. I prefer feeding people good, vegan food.

The first couple of years in Seattle, we had about three people show up for Halloween, but in the neighborhood where we are now, quite a large number of children come, and we're back in the trick-or-treat business again. This year, we found a few different treats to offer. If you are a last minute shopper like me, maybe these suggestions will be of use.


My husband found the pretzels again at Whole Foods, so we have 24 bags of those. I can't eat them because of the gluten, so they go first. Then we have some Stretch Island fruit leather and some Clif Kid Zbars. That should trick the treaters into eating something a little better than the usual junk.

Stretch Island says their fruit leather contains 1/2 serving of fruit in each strip. According to their Web site they are 100% natural with no artificial additives, made from real-fruit purée with no added sugar – all sugar comes naturally from fruit, and they are non-GMO Project Verified. Stretch Island® products use only BPA-free packaging.


We found the Zbars this weekend at Costco, and they were the most reasonably priced healthyish treats we spotted. We got a box of 24 for $10.79, which is a lot less than they sell for elsewhere. In fact, it's a crazy price. They are usually between $13 and $18, depending on where you buy them. There were three flavors in the box — Chocolate Brownie, Chocolate Chip and Iced Oatmeal Cookie. Here's a sample of what ingredients are in a Clif Kid Zbar:

INGREDIENTS: Organic Oat Blend (Organic Rolled Oats, Organic Oat Flour, Organic Oat Fiber), Organic Tapioca Syrup, Organic Chocolate Chips (Organic Dried Cane Syrup, Organic Unsweetened Chocolate, Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Soy Lecithin, Organic Vanilla Extract), Organic Fig Paste, Organic Cane Syrup, Organic Maple Syrup, Organic Soy Butter (Organic Roasted Soybeans, Organic Soybean Oil, Salt), Organic Chocolate (Organic Dried Cane Syrup, Organic Unsweetened Chocolate, Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Soy Lecithin, Organic Vanilla Extract), Organic Milled Flaxseed, Natural Flavors, Baking Soda, Sea Salt. The bars may contain traces of dairy, gluten and peanuts.


Hopefully, we'll have enough stuff for all the kids who show up.

Do you get many trick-or-treaters? Do you feel compelled to hand out healthy treats or do you just buy bags of regular candy? If you were going trick-or-treating, what do you wish people would put in your bag?

Click to enlarge.



Full disclosure: All products were purchased by me. All opinions are my own. I wasn't paid to write the post.


33 comments:

  1. The ZBars are a great idea...just enough like a candy bar but yumfully vegan. :)
    My friend and I usually split a bulk order of Endangered Species vegan dark chocolate treats...you can use coupon code HLWN15 for 15% off until Nov.4th. Yay!
    It works out really well for us...that gives us 80 each, which is fine because whatever is left can be used for baking. And dipping in almond butter...yumza! :)

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    1. Yes, we gave out the Endangered Species dark chocolate treats a few years ago, but I tend to shop last minute and didn't have time to order them this year. Those are great! I'd love to have leftovers!

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  2. Barring another hurricane, this will be my first non-cancelled Halloween in my home; I'm hoping it's a busy one! I have to admit that I always go the accidentally vegan route, so this year it's oreos. I always put a vegan sticker on them to spread the word. If it starts with oreos, who am I to judge?

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    1. Good point. I suppose I could give out Oreos (or Skittles) if I didn't read the label. :) I've never actually heard someone say, "I became vegan because I love Oreos so much." But I suppose it could happen, and I, like you, am in favor of whatever path people take to a plant-based, animal-friendly diet. Next year, Oreos! Your stickers help people to see they can be vegan and not have to give up their favorite treats.

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  3. Well, I for one would be happy to eat either of yr treats. I don't live in a house so no one is going to stop by here... but I'd probably go Abby's route and buy the cheaper, accidentally vegan goodies: lollipops, oreos, Twizzlers, Swedish Fish and the like. The leftovers question is a good thing to take into consideration - I will definitely eat leftovers of those things but I know I shouldn't. I'd prefer to bring some leftovers in to work and satisfy my sweet tooth with a Justin's.

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    1. Not sure if I'll eat the leftover Zbars or not, since they aren't made with GF oats. I may try one and see what happens. If there are leftovers, and I have a feeling there won't be. I'd rather have a Justin's, too. Or Endangered Species dark chocolate.

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  4. This is the first year in over ten years that I will be at home to hand out treats! We've gone to churches or just bowled the night away at a bowling alley. But, SR is 16 and feeling the pinch of old age, so she really wants to go trick or treating. GR is going with her, and so JK wants to go. Which leaves me at home. Besides his sisters, there will be at least three other teens with them, so he'll be well supervised. Anyhow, I made a trip over to Whole Foods and picked up their natural lollipops. I also noticed they had bags of other natural candy for Halloween. So if I'm home again next year, I might get creative in what I buy. If I was small and ringing your doorbell, I'd probably reach for the fruit leather. Have fun!

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    1. We've given out the lollipops and I like them. Next year I'm going to try to find the Endangered Species chocolate squares again. Although they are dark chocolate and a lot of kids don't like that.

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  5. Good ideas! I am at the last minute too and I have no idea if anyone will show up. I guess I'll have to stock up on chocolate!

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    1. You should definitely stock up on something you'll be able to use if the kids don't show up. We ran out last year so I'm pretty sure we'll have trick-or-treating hoards.

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  6. I love your ideas, Andrea! I wish my kids could trick or treat by you!

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    1. Thanks. I wish they could, too!

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  7. Really great treats you have to hand out! We don't get any trick or treaters where we live now.

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    1. I just wish I didn't have to answer the door over and over again by myself. Plus I'll have to restrain Callie.

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  8. Fantastic ideas,especially the Stretch Island snacks.Love those! I almost died laughing at ""don't go to that house. They always give out raisins" since we avoided "those" houses when I was a kid. My mother was the crazy carob lady,so the last thing we wanted on Halloween was something healthy.

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  9. I don't get any trick or treaters at my place but I love the Clif ZBars, not for the kids but for me. :-)

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    1. I'm happy to have your endorsement. I bought them because they were so cheap — and also healthy — but it's nice to know they taste good, too.

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  10. I think I may go trick or treating at your house. Those are great treats to hand out (and get). At first when I read that sentence "there's always the possibilities of leftovers to consider.." I thought you meant handing out leftovers to trick or treaters. Like leftover dinner lol.

    We usually buy the accidently mainstream vegan candies like twizzlers or dum dums. When it gets close to the end of the night, we give out big handfuls of it so we aren't left with too much.

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    1. Haha. No, we eat our leftovers. :) I'm a little compulsive about not buying mainstream junk food, though I wish I could lighten up a little. Sometimes at the end of the night I put everything on the porch and label it, "Self-serve. Please take one." It doesn't last long.

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  11. I'm so sorry someone said something mean about your raisins! That just breaks my heart. Your snacks look great and if I were a parent - or still young enough to trick-or-treat - I would appreciate your attempt to share things that are healthy and tasty!

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    1. It's been a long time since I offered raisins on Halloween — usually I have a selection of choices, and it's fun to watch the kids as they choose something.

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  12. You might find Mr. Wing-It ringing your doorbell tomorrow because he LOVES those pretzels. Great treat ideas! You got a really good deal on those Zbars too. Maybe some of the parents will see your treats and decide that maybe they want to buy them for their kids instead of regular junky candy.

    Now I feel ashamed to admit that we just give our trick-or-treaters the junky stuff :(

    What do I wish people would put in my bag? Hmm. I'm gonna say Justin's peanut butter cups - those things are so good!

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    1. How will I recognize him?

      Yes, I'm wondering now if the Zbars were mis-marked. The price seems too good. I've never thought about parents being influenced by the treats their kids get, but I suppose anything is possible. Don't feel guilty though, about giving the kids what they really want.

      I'm with you on the Justin's — I don't even like peanut butter that much but I do like those.

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    2. He was the cheeky one that grabbed all your pretzels and ran off with them! :D

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  13. Because of where we live, we never get trick or treaters, so that solves the problem for us! I'm so chuffed you found some good vegan treat for the kids though - particularly those pretzels. I'd happily take a few bags of those off your hands! My mum has a similar dilemma to yours though - she always has too much left over, so nowadays she just buys the stuff she'd be happy to eat!

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    1. I'd happily give you a few bags of pretzels if you showed up at my door. It's too bad we can't all get together for a Halloween leftover party — with cocktails.

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  14. These Stretch Island fruit leather are perfect for the kids! I love them for travels, too! These are pretty wicked treats for the kids, have fun tonight!

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    1. I just hope the kids show up! It's 5:30 and no one has come yet.

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  15. Junk! the rest got junk. No trick or treaters here. I would take raisins and pretzels. I bet that that Holiday Haus has good treats!

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    1. Lots of kids came to the door and everyone was happy with this year's treats. Or maybe I just had the polite kids visiting.

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  16. Yeah, I just went with the corn syrup goodness of Sour Patch Kids. Then we didn't get any trick or treaters and I have to eat them! Lol.

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    1. That's really too bad you got stuck with all the Halloween candy. :)

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