Desserts, Food, Holiday, Recipes

Surviving Halloween!

As parents living a paleo lifestyle, Halloween can be much more frightening than the expected glowing skeletons, howling ghosts, and silly monsters.  Halloween is scary because of the mountains of high fructose corn syrup and unidentifiable ingredient laden CANDY!!!  Around this time every year my inbox fills up with questions regarding what to do about Trick or Treating, kids, and the typical sugar battles that go along with Halloween.

First, I’ll share with you how we have celebrated Halloween during our paleo years and I’ll also include some new tips and resources that I’m sure will prove useful as you plan for what should be a day filled with fun and fantasy, not tantrums and tummy aches.

The Fragoso Plan:  We do the typical pumpkin carving, dressing up, and trick or treating, but with a twist!  In the days leading up to Halloween, we make a traditional trip to our local pumpkin patch with the emphasis on having fun together as a family.  We pull each other in the wagons, jump in the bounce house, feed the animals, race through the hay bales, and of course wander through the pumpkins and pick out our favorites.


Instead of baking halloween cookies and filling up on candy, we make popcorn balls and roasted pumpkin seeds with the boys, prior to heading out to tour our neighborhood.  My mom started the pumpkin seed and popcorn ball tradition when we were kids; you see, she was not a candy fanatic either and we lived so far out in the country, trick or treating was not even an option, so every year we would look forward to making the gooey treats.

I know that popcorn, and most definitely popcorn balls do not necessarilly fall into the list of what folks consider to be “paleo” but on Halloween and as an alternative to the hoards of garbage that is typically consumed, a popcorn ball made with love, honey, and molasess is a lesser evil in my opinion and a fun way to continue my childhood tradition with my own kids.  Here is the recipe that we use:

Popcorn Balls

1 cup honey

1/3 cup light molasses

 1/3 cup water

1 tablespoon grass fed butter (we use Kerrygold)

3 quarts air popped popcorn

1) In a saucepan combine the honey, molasses and water and cook slowly over medium low heat, stirring constantly until the temp on your candy thermometer reaches 250.

2) Add the butter and stir in until melted.

3) Have the popped popcorn ready in a large bowl and evenly pour the syrup over the popcorn and mix well with a spoon.

4) Once the syrup has cooled, grease your hands (and the kids hands) with more butter and form the sticky popcorn into balls!!

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Remove the seeds from your carved pumpkin, wash off all the goo and dry with paper towels

Sea salt to taste

1) Preheat your oven to 350.

2) Spread the seeds evenly on a baking sheet and sprinkle with sea salt.

3) Bake for about 5 minutes, or just until the seeds start to turn toasty.  Watch them carefully, they will burn quickly!!

For trick or treating, my kids almost, just almost like to hand stuff out just as much as they like to go trick or treating.  We will hand out pencils, erasers, bracelets, or other fun little toys all found at the Dollar store.  Yup, we are that family who does not had out candy but we haven’t yet had our house egged or kids run off crying.  In fact the response is typically, “Cool!!” or “Thank You!!”

When we go trick or treating we simply have a 2 piece of candy rule.  Maybe that sounds cruel but after popcorn balls, dressing up, carving pumpkins, and handing out treats, the kids simply know the routine at this point and are not all that excited about the candy that is so foreign to them anyway.  The rest either goes in the garbage or is donated the next day at Jaden’s school in exchange for a book.

This year I am considering changing up our typical routine just slightly by using an idea from Peggy of Primal Parent.   Peggy contributed an outstanding article to the latest issue of Paleo Magazine which was dedicated to ideas for paleo parents to make Halloween fun and survivable.  For her little one, Peggy purchases candy that is more acceptable such as organic dark chocolates, crsytallized ginger, small packages of nuts and dried fruits, honey sticks, and other more natural treats.  After an evening of trick or treating she will either simply dump the bad stuff in the trash and make a switch to the better stuff (which would probably go totally unnoticed by tiny tots) or for older kids, her idea is to set up shop and have your child trade the bad stuff for the good stuff.  For example, it will cost your child 5 pieces of junk candy for 2 pieces of dark chocolate.  Turn it into a fun game of “store” and say goodbye to the tummy aches!  I think I’ll try this plan with my Rowan and Jaden this year, they both love to play fantasy games and a Halloween game of store and trading and bartering might be extremely fun and a new twist to our old routine.

Coby, my oldest son, simply tossed his candy last year except for a piece or two and this year at the ripe old age of 16 he plans to hang out with his buddy and they will help us take the little guys out around the neighborhood.   Coby is also working on a blog post to share with a teenagers perspective on living paleo so stay tuned for that special article coming soon!

I hope this post helps to make what should be a fun filled holiday a little bit more stress free and enjoyable.

As always, enjoy!

Sarah Fragoso

Sarah Fragoso is an international best selling author of 6 books, co-owner of the Chico, CA based gym JS Strength and Conditioning, and founder of the Everyday Paleo franchise. Sarah is the co-host of the popular Sarah and Dr. Brooke Show podcast and she also conducts workshops and retreats on the subjects of nutrition, lifestyle and fitness.

Her message is from the heart and she carries a genuine desire to help other families looking for guidance. These attributes have contributed to her successes and provide the drive to keep the discoveries coming.

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  1. Serenity says:

    We do a “Halloween Fairy” kind of thing. Our kids each get to pick out a small handful of the candy they want and the rest goes back into our basket to hand out to trick or treaters. In exchange for the crap, our kids get a small toy (like a little Lego set) or book. We don’t buy candy to hand out, either. This year we’re handing out Halloween erasers and bookmarks :). We’ve always done this because one of our kiddos has food allergies, but it fits right in with our more recent lifestyle changes.

    1. Man, as a kid I ADORED those tiny little rubber erasers in brightly colored shapes. Awesome idea!

      1. jen sanchez says:

        We do the Halloween Fairy too. Our kids leave their candy out and the fairy takes it away and leaves them a gift card instead. The “fairy” sends the candy to the troops!

        1. LOVE this idea!

          1. Carlos says:

            I spent several Halloweens in Afghanistan and Iraq. Thank you. It really is appreciated greatly. Semper Fidelis, OORAH!

        2. That’s a nice idea, but I can’t help but think, “Poor troops!” I feel bad for them getting all that poisonous candy! Here’s to Real Food and healthy troops!

    2. Serenity – I would love to know if there is a specific place to mail this to. My daughter and I would LOVE to do this! Any suggestions on where to mail the treat for the troops?

      Thanks- Shannon

  2. Hailey says:

    Hooray! It’s good to know that I’m not the only one that doesn’t pass out candy! We’ve only bee Paleo for about 6wks, but I starter handing out not-candy at Halloween last year. My non Paleo husband groaned, but helped me pick out more acceptable Halloween handouts, like gooey eyes and plastic parachute men. If you’re a parent that let’s your kid gorge on candy, that’s your prerogative. However, I won’t have a hand in their diabetes. 🙂

    1. juliana says:

      even before we were paleo we handed out glow sticks. The kids love them on halloween night!

  3. Thanks for this. I need to book mark this for a few years down the road. My two year old son wants nothing to do with costumes or trick or treating so yay for this year! But I know this will come up next year. And I love your ideas of making pumpkin patch and special ‘paleo’ treats the center of Halloween. I think we’ll try that this year so we have some momentum when the trick or treating starts!

  4. I am totally in love with your Halloween ritual.

  5. Victoria says:

    Many years ago a neighbor of mine introduced me to the “Candy Fairy.” My kids left their bag of candy at the front door in return for a present from the “Candy Fairy.” The first year I started this I gave them a week with their candy, one piece a night. The second year they wanted to place their bag at the front door on Halloween night, I was not prepared for this, I was out at the store by 6am buying presents. My kids are now 11 & 10 and have figured out that I was the “Candy Fairy” all along. They still gladly offer up the bag of candy for a present.

    1. I love this! I could totally see making it into a big story, about how they have to collect the candy to “appease” the candy fairies or something, perhaps ramping spookiness up or down depending on how much the kid likes that sort of thing.

    2. Cathy says:

      The Great Pumpkin comes to our house and trades out the candy for toys. This was something my mom did as well for my sisters and I. My kids have friends that have actually asked their parents if the Great Pumpkin could come to their house too.

  6. E. Levis says:

    Great ideas, thanks! I also like that many dentists will “buy” candy from your kids… they’ll give them $1 per pound or something… that way my kids jet excited that they’ve earned money for giving up their junky candy!

    Also, I think just “moderation” is always a good approach… I try to “demystify” junk. I never reward with food or promise treats for finishing a plate of veggies… Consequently, my kids (twin girls who are 4 and a son who is 6) will literally say things like, “No thanks, I don’t want a cookie. We had ice cream yesterday, and I don’t want to eat too much junk.” !!! Hard to believe at first, but I guess they’re learning good lessons about moderation. (Hallelujah- you mean they actually LISTEN to me sometimes?!)

    Anyway, with Halloween candy, we do go trick-or-treating. Then that night I let them pick 1 or 2 items they want to eat (after I sift through and pull out the REALLY bad stuff)… the next day, maybe they’ll pick 1 more item. And by the third day, they’ve forgotten about the candy… but just in case they don’t– we bring it to the dentist!

  7. Mandie @ The Paleo Home says:

    Popcorn balls are YUM! Those were always a christmas tradition in our house. This year we are doing candy science experiments. You can read about it here:

    I love the idea of setting up a little candy shop to trade for better goodies!

    1. Laura B says:

      Oh wow, thanks for sharing that link! I love the website that they got the idea from, My daughter is gonna love melting and cracking and playing with the candy. Smart, healthy and fun!

  8. What awesome ideas! Thanks so much for sharing. I was really feeling a lot of anxiety surrounding Halloween this year. My son will just love the trade-in idea, I know it. And both my sons will love the roasted pumpkin seeds and popcorn balls!

  9. Jennie says:

    We take our halloween candy and decorate gingerbread houses (a house made out of cardboard is very sturdy for ALL of the halloween candy) That is our first Christmas decoration. I think that this year we will make lots of smaller ones and give them away. Have a great day, Thanks for your site and information.

    1. Melanie says:

      GREAT idea Jennie! That way the kids can save it and look forward to using it for a fun activity!

  10. Shannah says:

    I started handing out non-candy a couple of years ago. The past two years we have handed out microwave popcorn. Not Paleo at all, but in my opinion, much better than handing out M&Ms or Snickers. And I can’t tell you how many parents have chimed in with “Thank you SO much for handing out real food instead of candy. We REALLY appreciate it.”

    This year I think we are going to hand out glow bracelets. The kids all love them and it won’t be a useless piece of plastic junk that will lie around the house for a year. It’ll die by the end of the night, go in the trash and no one will ever see it again.

    1. Glow bracelets = BRILLIANT. Kids will love them (hell adults love them; I was just at a wedding where we got some for the evening reception and it was awesome) and it has the added benefit of making them more visible to cars and all that safety stuff.

  11. Janelle says:

    My hubby is a physician, and he sees obese and diabetic people all the time. We haven’t passed out candy for 5 years or so, and we bargain with our kids to only keep a couple of pieces of the “junk” they get on Halloween. Now that we’re paleo, I hope they want the junky stuff even less, and this article has given me a few more ideas. Thanks!

  12. Maureen says:

    Try making up a scavenger hunt on halloween rather then focus on gathering candy. This allows kids to walk around and still feel a part of the neighborhood festivities- have non candy prizes for the kids that find- the most ghost, spider webs, princess costumes, etc…

  13. kendra from ferndale,mi says:

    i like the “store” idea. we have strong “value of a dollar” teachings happening right now with my 8 year old twin boys. we have been making the earn $ to buy the things they want. i’m thinking of letting them turn in candy from trick-or-treating to me for a dollar amount to go to the indoor rock climbing wall or to bank the $ for a trip to the indoor water park:)

  14. Was wondering/worrying about what I was going to do this year about all that candy. Thank you so much for the “store” idea. I’m pretty sure my girls after much thought would love to trade their candy in for a pretty new dress, or toy. Anything but candy. I’m one that will eat it if it’s in the house. Beginner Paleo person. Getting better just don’t need the temptation. Though last year we had so many kids I had to “give out” their candy leaving just a few pieces for them. Maybe that will happen again this year.

  15. Popcorn:
    So glad to see this. This sort of makes me feel better. 🙂 One of my weakness is popcorn. We do not have them often at my house but when we are in the mood for popcorn and movies I make mine in the Stir Crazy machine I have.
    My other weakness is milk but I have cut back on milk drastically.

    Another option for candy is to make stuff from Make it Paleo folks who have several homemade candies on their blog. 🙂 Yummy!!


    1. Shannah says:

      We have popcorn on our movie nights once or twice a month as well. I cook it in the Whirly Pop with coconut oil and it is divine.

  16. I have been dreading Halloween this year just because of the candy issue! I have an Extremely Stubborn 9 year old son that will definitely give me a hard time! However, he also loves money, so I am thinking of giving him a nickel per candy, as that could add up to a nice bit of cash for him! I will also not be handing out candy, because every year we have leftover and I don’t want the temptations in the house (even for me!).

  17. Danielle says:

    Thanks for the great ideas! My husband and I were planning to buy each piece of candy from our girls (ages 9, 7, 6 and 2) for a quarter per piece of candy, which could end up getting pretty expensive, but we thought they would be more excited the more they collected and the more they sold to us, as they watch the amount add up. After reading the suggestion of ‘trading’ their candy for less unhealthy options, I am definitely going to be giving them that option along with the money. It will be tons of fun! I am also going to use your idea of the popcorn balls. My girls will love them!

  18. I dont have kids, im not even married, but I have wondered about how best to deal with Halloween traditions in a paleo lifestyle. Halloween has always been my favorite holiday, and trick or treating was the epitome of it as a kid. Looking back, though, I realize that it wasn’t because of the candy (although that was nice); the magic of the tradition came from running around in costume outside as twilight falls, seeing the neighborhood transformed by darkness and decorations. It literally felt like a scary, wonderful portal to another world had been opened for that night alone. I loved it and I sure wouldnt want my kids to miss out on a similar opportunity.

  19. Debbie says:

    You have excellent ideas. My only issue is that you throw out the candy your kids have collected. Your neighbors spent their money on that candy and you are tossing it? Since you won’t be eating it anyway, let the neighbors give it to those kids who will eat it. Your first suggestion of taking it to the school is a good idea or take it to a shelter or something. Or just don’t accept it in the first place.

    1. Shannah says:

      My kids are younger so we always get home before the neighborhood trick-or-treating is over. I have my son pull out a few pieces that he likes and can eat (no gluten or dairy for him) and we just put the leftovers in the bowl and pass it out to the kids that come by. I make sure when it starts getting late that I get REAL generous with candy so as not to have leftovers.

  20. Don’t wash the pumpkin seeds. (from the Joy of Cooking, I think) and they have more taste. Of course, I am sure some oil was used too, but I do not have the book in front of me.

  21. We offer an alternative: a new ‘used’ video game and friends over to eat dinner and play all evening. It’s been a big hit and they look forward to it. You can also donate your candy for troops overseas. Sometimes they can use them for the children in the villages (no, not a great idea for their health but anything to support our troops and further good relations!).

  22. Thanks for the fun recipes. We’ll have to try those. Should pumpkin seeds be soaked prior to roasting? How long? We’ve already talked about trading my daughter’s candy for a DVD set. She wants Land of the Lost. The original TV series. She loves it. Go figure. Remember when TV shows weren’t full of food porn and kids behaving badly?One of the families in our neighborhood, goes to yard sales throughout the year and buys stuffed animals and dolls, then gives those out on Halloween. It’s easy to find their house … it’s the one with the longest line!

  23. Jessica says:

    Larabar makes “mini bars” that come in a box of 12, I was thinking about handing those out instead. I’m all about sharing good things and getting people to experience something different (and paleo)! Love the dollar toy, erasers and pencil ideas!

    1. Morgan says:

      Thank you for sharing this! I had NO idea Lara Bars had minis! I’m totally getting those this year! Yay!

    2. Christine says:

      Where do you find the mini ones? I have never seen them and would love to buy them for myself and my kids. We can never finish a whole one. They are just too sweet for us.

  24. Lilychemgirl says:

    Somehow I have managed to convince my kids that any candy they get (from birthday parties, halloween, christmas etc.) goes straight into the lolly jar at home, and then is doled out at the rate of one small piece every couple of days after dinner. The lolly jar is also liberally pruned, so they don’t end up getting the entire amount. After easter the lolly jar is full for months. Generally I let them eat a piece or two and then the rest goes into the jar. I tend to toss hard colourful candy and replace it with chocolate or natural liqorice or something too. Because it has been this way since they were babies they don’t know any different, so if someone gives them some candy when they are out somewhere they just stash it in their pocket 🙂

  25. Peggy the Primal Parent says:

    Ah ha! That’s what my Halloween tradition is missing – some kind of special food. My Primal parenting strategy has always been to take the focus of of food. so we do the corn maze, the dressing up, the pumpkin carving but I never thought to add a family food tradition. lol! I’m going to add that to my routine this year. We both have something new to try!

  26. Maricel says:

    I recently came across the idea of Reverse trick or treating. You could get a kit from They include an info card about fair trade cocoa and a mini fair trade dark chocolate you hand to people at their door. I like that this idea promotes the idea of giving as well as receiving too! This will be the first year my 3 year old will actually go trick or treating, so we will see how it goes. It is hard for her because many in her peer group eat “traditionally” so I feel like she already feels “different” so I love the idea of good candies to trade out for the junk. I will probably let her have a couple and a popcorn ball…that seems like plenty.

    1. Shannon says:

      They still have trick or treat for UNICEFF, too. We’ve seen a couple different fund raising trick or treaters in the past few years and I keep a little bowl of quarters near the door on Halloween. I’m thinking we might try that, at least for part of the night. It’s the going door to door my son really likes, and he usually forgets about his candy after a week or so. We live in a huge neighborhood with lots of kids, and my son usually comes back with at least a few prizes, coins and things like pretzels and fruit snacks, so it’s not all bad. I’m going with the dollar store prizes–will buy them today!

  27. Thanks for all the great tips! I really like the “shop/trade” ideas. My boys are always hungry for some Nerf and Legos. I think the popcorn balls will be a big hit and I can’t wait to try them.
    Really looking forward to Coby’s blog post. I have two teenagers that will be interested too.

  28. Hi Sarah,
    i just saw that Jan’s Sushi Bar is nominated on for best food blog. I thought it would be great for paleo if she could win . . . im not joking when i say “fat free vegan” is in the lead right now!! anyway, thought you might have some influence if you are interested in tweeting or posting about it.
    if so here is the link to vote for her:
    thanks, you’re a real light!!

    1. Laura B says:

      Oh wow, thanks for sharing that link! I love the website that they got the idea from, My daughter is gonna love melting and cracking and playing with the candy. Smart, healthy and fun!

      1. Laura B says:

        oh I posted that in the wrong spot, would you delete it?

  29. When I was a kid I didn’t really like Halloween candy, anyway, so I just took it all in to school to give to my classmates. It was a great way to make friends! So that’s another thing to do with the leftover candy.

  30. Good ideas for a fun holiday! My neighborhood gets less popular each year as a trick- or-treat destination–one neighbor is a dentist and always gives toothbrushes, and another neighbor and I have both given the little microwave popcorn bags before. I like the idea of little toys.

    Popcorn is one thing I enjoy when I give myself permission to go off strict Paleo for a treat. I use a stainless steel ‘Whirly Pop’ that you put on the stove. I put coconut oil in to pop the corn, then add a bit of butter and salt. It’s delicious!

  31. Sarah, big fan of the cookbook, new to the blog but digging it! Lots of great stuff. The Halloween issue is real and it’s right in our faces, I’m glad somebody is helping people get their smarts in order.

    “Paleo is possible” is reassuring to say the least.

  32. debbie seward says:

    Sarah we have a 5 candy rule because they make it last LOL. We also have a dentist in our town that will buy up to 5 pounds of candy for a dollar a pound and then in turn sends the candy over to Iraq where the soldiers use it to be friendly with the kids. I know the whole world should be paleo, but it gets it out of our house. We usually match the dentist, so the kids end up with $10!!! That is a good nights work for a 7 and 10 yr old 🙂 Maybe if you have a dentist friend in your town he could do some business building with this tactic 🙂

  33. I think it’s a great tradition! I think Halloween is a rite all kids should be entitled to, and popcorn balls are not the worst thing a paleo kid could eat. Great tradition! We do our friendly Paleo/Primal neighbor part by passing out play-doh to trick or treaters

  34. Shannah says:

    I will also add that the best house in our neighborhood is the house that hands out toys. They are an older couple and they go to US Toy and buy glow bracelets/sticks, die-cast cars, temporary tattoos and little stuffed animals and they have them all set up on a table in the front yard. They give each kid a bracelet and they pull a surprise toy out of a gender appropriate box for the kiddos. It’s the highlight of every year. My son and his friend always get some metal car or airplane and they play with it all night.

  35. We do a switch out for candy as well, and “she’s” called the Switch Witch. In exchange for their bag of candy left out on the table on the night of Halloween, the Switch Witch leaves a cool toy or book. Our boys think it’s the greatest thing ever! I usually just trash the candy…

  36. Heather says:

    Thank you so much for the popcorn ball recipe! I have a 6 year old and he will love helping to make these!

  37. Thank you so much for this post. We are having a giant party this year to try and consume some of the Halloween fever. (I’ll be making your Kale meat balls!!! as well as Elana’s Pantry’s chocolate cupcakes).

    I LOVE that your oldest is working on a blog post!!! I would be soooo proud. I have two little ones (7 and 6) and they both know a lot about how and why we eat differently from a lot of our friends. Neither child will be allowed to leave home for college without being able to recite the Paleo Solution word for word. My older kiddo is at the age when he is bombarded with junk and candy at school. I helped him set up a system to manage it–he can make a choice to eat the candy or trade it in for 15 minutes of video game time after dinner (if his homework is done). 99% of the time he will trade it for Mario Cart!! I LOVE the idea of trading out the yucky HFCS and other unmentionable Halloween booty for healthy snacks and treats!!! I think I will do that this year also. Thanks for being such a great resource and inspiration to the Paleo community!!! Have a Spooktacular Halloween!!!

  38. Eileen says:

    Fun Fun Fun. I think it’s great the whole family gets together for such a fun event as Halloween! Growing up sweets of any kind were a rarity in our house, and to this day albeit I may have my moments, still just as rare. My fondest memories were not of the candy, but the spending family time.

    For those that do have extra candy over this holiday, there are lots of shelters and homeless outreach programs that will gladly take the candy.

    Here in SF – we have an outreach program for the homeless youth and candy is great way to break the ice when approaching young adults that may be in a bad situation.

  39. Piper deterding says:

    Here in San Diego kids can trade in a bag of ‘crummy candy’ for a free kids meal at Wahoo’s Fish Tacos. In excited to make a batch of pumpkin seeds this weekend. Another kid-friendly idea I saw today is to let littler-ones decorate a pumpkin with playdough. No sharp knives needed!!

  40. Virginia says:

    I just went to amazon and bought a ton of glow bracelets in bulk. It’s such a good idea -I LOVED those things as a kid! In fact, if there are any left over, I think I might just light them all up and see how many I can wear at one time!

  41. Christine says:

    Not sure if this has been mentioned, but our dentist buys our candy. He pays $2/pound up to $10 and all of this is per kid. He then donates the candy to the local food bank.

  42. Really happy to find this post! I love how upbeat and positive you remain in the throes of such a sugary tradition. I was in Target the other day, standing in the Halloween section like a deer in the headlights feeling paralyzed over what to do now that I’ve seen the Paleo/Primal light. I am loathe to compromise the progress I’ve made with my kiddos, confuse them about the issue or feel like an integrity-sacrificing hypocrite heel. Plus I don’t want to be the wicked witch of my street this year.

    So thank you for your guidance! I feel SO MUCH better now. I love all the other ideas pouring in as well. My son is already psyched to trade his sugary loot for a pack of baseball or Pokemon cards.

    Great recipe too. Can’t wait to try it. I’ve been roasting squash seeds with a little coconut oil, which adds a nice hint of sweetness, and always pop my corn in it too. It’s about the only grain I miss, once it’s slathered in butter and celtic sea salt…

    Happy trick-or-treating!

    1. Sarah says:

      Love the idea of using coconut oil to roast the seeds in, thank you!

  43. mister worms says:

    Lots of great ideas here – very inspiring post! There’s really no excuse for kids consuming a bunch of junky crap for Halloween with so many alternatives that are a much better treat at the end of the day. At our house, when there are holiday-related candy explosions, I substitute a variety of small presents (ie, arts & crafts supplies, cute hair clips, small toys). And popcorn is one of my favorite not-so-paleo treats. Only because it is an excellent vehicle for good butter and sea salt 🙂

  44. We only get 1-3 dozen trick or treaters. For the last 3 years, we have handed out juice boxes and bubble tubes (leftover from our wedding) with black and orange ribbon attached. Parents seem to appreciate something healthy, and kids love the heft of the juice box dropping into their sack!

    1. We also add paprika to pumpkin seeds- something I learned from my Dad as a kid.

      1. Sarah says:

        Love that idea!

  45. Carissa says:

    I’d also like to suggest that instead of throwing your collected candy in the trash, you can donate it to a wonderful organization:

    They will take all Halloween candy and send it in care packages overseas. This is a great option for paleo moms. And it’s a great way to show your kids how we can give back to our U.S. Service Members. It’s what our family has been doing since we made the paleo switch 2 years ago.

  46. Autumn says:

    I just discovered this great candy buy back program. Participating dentists buy the candy for $1 a pound and then donate the candy to the troops overseas. So this year we will be trick or treating with a purpose! It is such a great idea.

  47. That mass of candy just never seemed like a great idea anyways. Originally, I would let my kids have two pieces Halloween night and then the bowl went up and they could have it later. They would eventually forget about it and I’d toss it. Now that they are older, they can keep up to five pieces and, honestly, I just buy the rest off of em’ and then toss it. I think the whole experience of trick or treating is more fun anyways. 🙂

  48. Beth Stowers says:

    We take our kids Trick or Treating every year. After they get home, they pick a few pieces of candy to keep and then the rest of it goes to the Candy Fairy who replaces their candy with a small toy. My kids absolutely LOVE her!

    The Candy Fairy then dumps the candy into the garbage…

  49. My popcorn balls didn’t stay in ball form. Any suggestions for how to get the popcorn stick in balls? The honey & molasses mixture didn’t heat to exactly 250 deg, it was 244 then I had to stop for trick-o-treaters. I let it cool to work with it, but we ended up eating it like crakerjaks rather than balls. The whole mess of it was great anyway! And MUCH better than candy. I actually don’t regret going without any candy. This will be a good halloween tradition for years to come.

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Sara,
      Yup you have to heat it all the way to 250 for it to hold together but I’m glad it was tasty anyway! : )

  50. i’ve enjoyed several of your paleo recipes and as a newbie to paleo, am REALLY enjoying tips like these. we saved the seeds… now off to roast. next year (or maybe even for xmas), we’ll do the popcorn balls, too. yum.

  51. Colette says:

    I know this is a little late, but when my boys were younger I did something similar to the store idea you mentioned above. Only it was for pokemon cards, or baseball cards, or whatever they were in to that year. Focussed on a different kind of treat.

  52. Nicole Nadeau says:

    Just found your blog and reading old entries. We have the great pumpkin. The kid’s pick 3 candies from their stash and the rest goes on the front porch. The next morning, the candy is gone and some special toy is on the porch. My oldest (6) has worked up a big story about how the pumkin uses the candy to fuel his big toy machine. Gets all the candy out of the house in a day. When they ask why the great pumkin doesn;t visit everyone, we explain that not everyone eats like we do and the great pumpkin is helping us get rid of all the junky candy.

    1. Sarah says:

      Love it, thanks for sharing!!

    2. Jimae says:

      This is a BRILLIANT idea! Definitely going to try it this year. My son is 4 and we just started paleo about two weeks ago. He is having an easy time of giving up his daily toast and jelly, and we don’t keep candy around so this might just do the trick. Out of sight, out of mind I say…

  53. A family that I used to Nanny for had something called the “Switch Witch” (whom the 5-year-old told me is ACTUALLY Mommy! =) who would have known?). The Switch Witch comes two nights after Halloween and takes all the candy that are not “favorites” & trades them for toys or others things the kids want. The kids then get to keep about 15 pieces of their “favorites” and take 1 piece each day for lunch until they are all gone. They loved picking which ones they’d take in their lunch bags for the following day and loved how the Switch Witch brought them toys! I thought it was a great idea & can’t wait to use it on my own kids some day!

    Love your site!

  54. Lauren says:

    I can’t seem to find light molasses. Am I just missing it or where do you get it?

  55. You never fail me/us! We were just talking about how my grandma used to give out popcorn balls for Halloween, but I remember a jar of Karo Syrup was involved. So I searched for “paleo popcorn balls” and this was the first website to pop up! I knew you’d have an alternative recipe. Thank you, Sarah, you always have what I’m looking for! My kids are so excited to make these tonight. And we love the new EP Family Cookbook 🙂

  56. Jen Roulo says:

    Our dentist office pays $1 for every pound of candy the kids turn in!

  57. This is great! I have so many paleo-esk ideas for Halloween now that I was kind of dreading before. Thank you!

    1. You’re welcome!

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