Will the Goblins Be Gobblin’ at My House This Year?

Many years ago, I returned a casserole dish to a friend on Halloween night. I rang the doorbell and as I stood at the door with dish in hand, her sister-in-law (who didn’t know me) appeared, dropped a handful of candy in the dish and started to close the door.


“W-w-w-w-wait!” I called out. “I’m just returning a dish!”

Never mind that I was in my 30s at the time and hardly at an age to be going door-to-door begging candy.

But isn’t that just the way we think? Somebody appears at our door at the end of October, holding a container of some kind, and we drop candy into it.

“Can’t we give out nickels or dimes?” I’ll ask my husband. “At least we can spend the leftovers. How about spider rings? Anything but candy!”

He’ll give me “that” look—and go out and buy bags and bags of candy he found on sale. There are always leftovers. Not to mention a big bowl of candy staring me in the face for several hours. I’m not good at resisting temptation. You’d think he could at least get Snickers or something else I don’t like.

(To be truthful, there aren’t many candies I like well enough to measure, weigh, count, and generally commit math to figure out how much insulin I need to take. Which is, come to think of it, committing even more math.)

Can we think outside the box here? What can we give children that won’t break the bank—economic times being what they are—and who wants to spend that much on people who’ve been bussed in from outside the neighborhood anyway? (Yes, we get those. And, come to think of it, a few 30-year-olds, too.)

Besides, we’re pushing empty calories on these poor little munchkins. Sure, they’re getting exercise by schlepping from door to door, but I doubt there’s enough exercise to counter the calories they consume.

An article I read recently suggested toys, so I went looking.

Glow-in-the-dark squeezie eyeballs? Halloween Safety bookmarks? (Oh, sure—they’d love those!) Jack-o-Lantern whoopee cushions?

However, who wants leftover squeezie eyeballs? Especially ones that glow in the dark. Maybe the cats? I can see myself getting up to go potty in the middle of the night and following a trail of glowing eyeballs or, worse, stepping on one (or more) that’s lost its glow.

Leftover whoopee cushions? I can only imagine what the teenagers (and their friends) would do with those! Phffffftttttttt! Under every seat cushion in the house.

Furthermore, I don’t really want leftover toys any more than I want leftover candy. Which pretty much leaves coins. At least the leftovers have some value—albeit less and less every day.

Nickels are only good up to a certain age, which would be the age that finally realizes that bigger is not necessarily better. But dimes would double our investment. And, frankly, neither will buy you anything. You have to put a minimum of a quarter in the slot these days to get a bubble gum ball. I remember when they were a penny. (OK, they weren’t as big back in the day, but one of our problems today is all that jumbo food out there.)

It’s probably candy. Again. Unless somebody out there has a better idea that doesn’t involve leftover toys or whoopee cushions.

At least we have easy access to carb counts for Halloween candy these days. Even Diabetes Self-Management magazine has an article in its current issue that lists nutrition facts for Halloween candies and even if many of them are gluten-free. [Editor’s note: This article will also be featured on this Web site next week.]

For carb counts alone, go to www.insulin-pumpers.org/howto/halloween.shtml, which lists candies from 100 Grand (whatever that is) to Zours (whatever those are). Print it out and tape it to the inside of a kitchen cabinet door so you’ll have it handy when you get an urge for a Laffy Taffy or a Nutrageous or something.

To keep this really on-topic—it is, after all, a diabetes blog—November 1 is probably a good day to hit the sales tables for bags of Airheads, Necco Wafers, and other candies that are good for treating hypoglycemia.

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  • Ephrenia

    Try this… A plastic cauldron.. full of “putrid punch” –mix two or more colors of koolaid to make it a suspicious color, (Maybe add some instant vanilla pudding powder to thicken it?) use Splenda or Stevia or whatever to sweeten it if you choose) and dress as a witch or zombie to serve it.

    Ewww, just thought, lime or orange koolaide with chocolate pudding would be really gross looking but probably taste okay.

  • Airborne mom

    There are sugar free options. Cans of sugar free and caffeine free pop, 5-pack of sugar free gum, snack packs of peanuts, or trail mix. Although the tradition of candy is a fond memory for some of us. There are options for leftovers such as homeless and womens shelters. I will buy my candy after Halloween when it’s half price, put it in the freezer (it is harder to sneak a small bar when they are rock hard) and I will be sending it in monthly boxes to my son and nephew who are deployed to Iraq.

  • Cathy

    you could always buy, now don’t laugh, sugar-free treats that would be better if any were left-over and some of them are quite good. the kids would never notice the difference, at least until they got in a well lit place. they wouldn’t remember where they got such a treat – so you wouldn’t have to worry about reprisals. I actually prefer some of the sugar free or light candy over its regular counterpart. 3 Musketeers is one example – their light bar is really good. Actually I like spider rings and the left overs could be saved for next Halloween….It’s my favorite holiday, honestly, and I look forward to it every year. HAPPY HALLOWEEN and good luck. Sugar-free gum (and bubble gum) is actually quite popular too….

  • Kattgirl63

    For years now my parents/mother has given out money. Pennies at first, but now, things being what they are, Nickels. Two per small child, three for older, etc.

    IF you’re the only house giving out money, then they can’t do much with it, but if others follow suit, well, they could make several dollars by night’s end – enough to buy 1 decent size bag of candy or something else entirely more valuable, such as a night at the movies w/ their friend’s, etc. As for WHAT they do w/ the money, that’s their perogative.

    Most kids were thrilled when they saw the “flash” of silver & heard the clink, or “plop” in their bag and would say “Oh Cool! Money!”

    For those children who feel “Cheated” when they get home due to the paltry amount it totals up to, first I would say remind them that its the thought that counts – as it is a “Free Gift” as you already stated being given to strangers. Besides, that type of sentiment is usually more an “Adult” thing. And as for the teens (if they feel it’s NOT enough) – then maybe they really need to look within & consider if they’re too old for door to door trick or treating anymore. Lots of other places have Halloween activities now for older kids.

  • Diana Baltodano

    I like to give out individual bags of pretzels. They sell large barrels of them at Costco for halloween. They still contain carbs, but I’m not as tempted to pick up a bag of pretzels as I am a piece of candy. It saves me from myself!

  • pharmerboy

    We’ll be giving out the mini-canisters of Play-Dough this year.

    They aren’t cheap, but they aren’t going to break the bank, either.

    At least we won’t have to bring the candy into the house.

  • trishbebears

    I’ve been giving out small bags of nuts that I get at Costco. The older kids, especially the girls, say, “Cool, nuts!” I had one person who I told of this practice say, “Well what about the kids who are alergic to peanuts?” Personally, my guess is that parents of peanut alergy kids don’t let their kid go trick or treating. Most candy has the warning on the label that states that it is made in a factory that uses peanuts, tree nuts, etc.