Zero Waste Candy Alternatives for Trick-or-Treaters

It’s that time of the year again where we can bring out the cute Halloween decorations and plan for fun holiday activities. For fellow Halloween lovers, trick-or-treating might be the first thing to come to mind. When I was a kid, I would look forward to this night all year and always devour loads of candy as a result. No one is to say that kids shouldn’t indulge with sweets while trick-or-treating each year, but it is something that can be done sustainably! Below, I am going to share some examples and tips about how to share candy with kids in your neighborhood without using up piles of plastic and other wrapping material. 

Boxes of Sweets

Most kids during Halloween are already practicing something sustainable, which is carrying a multi-use container to fill up with candy. You can easily take advantage of this by buying boxes of candy or other sweets to simply pour into their jack o’lantern or pillow case! There is no need to fill up their container with individually wrapped candy when they will most likely be eating out of it anyways. If this doesn’t work, you could try finding mini bowls made of bamboo, straw, or paper to put your candy in. Here are some examples:

  1. Pouring portions from a box of cereal
  2. Handing out gum or mints that come in a non-individually wrapped bag
  3. Giving individual fruits such as tangerines or apples

Inedible Alternatives


I remember when I used to go trick-or-treating and I would often get little toys, objects, or coins that were alternatives to candy. Later on I realized that these are much more sustainable alternatives to giving out individually wrapped candies. If you found a bunch of really creative Halloween themed temporary tattoos, mini toys, or school supplies, most kids would probably appreciate something different from the same candy they might be getting from every other house. To give some different examples, here is a list of some things I got when I was younger:

  1. Dollar bills or coins
  2. Spider or monster tattoos
  3. Wind-up toys
  4. Halloween themed pencils
  5. Pumpkin erasers
  6. Black and orange sunglasses

Homemade goodies

Yes - as always, making something from scratch or even just partially homemade takes more time. This is why most people go out and spend 10 minutes buying bags of candy! However, taking an extra hour out of your day once a year to bake some yummy cookies or rice crispies could go a long way. Making homemade sweets can theoretically contain zero waste and provide children with the highest quality goodies they’ll get all night. It can also be super fun to bake, so if that’s your hobby already, you might as well put it to use here! Baking homemade candies or treats can be a simple add-on to all those hours you put into decorating your house beforehand. Here are some fun ideas for making homemade treats, but feel free to create your own unique recipes!

  1. Candy corn filled rice krispies
  2. Orange M&M filled brownies
  3. Ghost shaped marshmallows
  4. “Candied apple” slices

Thanks for joining us another blog post on the {Zero} Waste Kit blog! We hope you feel inspired to kick your eco anxiety to the curb and continue on your journeys to zero waste badassery. If you have any questions or comments be sure to leave them below. Lastly, don’t forget to share this post with someone who would appreciate it! 

Say hello to our guest author, Jason! Jason is attending Emory University and is studying Business and Environmental Management. He loves skiing, the environment, and his foodie lifestyle, brought to life by his Instagram @eats.byjay.

1 comment

  • A few of the inedible alternatives are not good options. The plastic sunglasses, wind up toys, erasers, will all eventually make there way to a landfill.

    Patti Blust

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