Halloween is a worldwide Holiday that began as a Celtic Festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. When Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as All Saints Day with traditions of Samhain, the evening before, All Hallows Eve, was born. Now, Halloween has evolved into a season of fall gatherings, carving pumpkins, hay rides, haunted houses, and trick-or-treating as the finale to a great month.
Americans purchase nearly 600 Million pounds of candy for Halloween each year, and worldwide, around 2.6 Billion dollars is spent. That is 10% of all yearly candy sales, for just one day! Candy is a wonderful, wonderful treat, in moderation of course, but some kids have food allergies that prevent them from eating the classic Halloween candy. What are some alternatives to give out to children knocking at the door? Stamps, stickers, bubbles, glowsticks, vampire fangs, slinkies, and MORE! Click here to see the other possible treats to hand out. Half the candy a child receives will probably end up in the trash, therefore handing out knick-knacks could put a fun spin on the tradition, and provide a more diverse, healthier option for trick-or-treaters!
Halloween should be a fun experience for all. In the United States, 12.8%, or 9.4 Million children, are estimated to have special health care needs, so there is a high probability that you will have a trick-or-treater with special needs at your door. The Blue Bucket was created by a mom whose son has Autism, to raise awareness and make Halloween more inclusive for children with special needs.
If you see a trick-or-treater with a Blue Halloween bucket, be extra patient while they are picking out candy, ask yes/no questions they can easily respond to when creating small talk, and avoid using flashing lights and loud music when they approach your home. Here are more tips from a candy giver and caregiver stand point, to ensure Halloween is an exciting event for all kids!
Halloween is a great opportunity to give back to your community. Let’s discuss some ways you can give back..
- Donate Halloween Candy. Treats for Troops sends candy to our troops overseas, and Ronald McDonald house appreciates donations of unopened candy to give to sick patients who are unable to trick-or-treat. Click here for more ways to donate candy!
- Donate Costumes. If you have left over costumes and accessories that are in good condition, Goodwill Habitat for Humanity, Children’s Hospitals, Rehab centers and Women’s shelters are always in need of clothing. Taking advantage of having clothes to put on your back is pretty common, so if you are EVER purging your closet, remember to drop them at an establishment that accepts clothing donations!
- Spirit of Children Program. If you are shopping for a Halloween costume, go to a Spirit Halloween store and make a donation to the Spirit of Children program (also available online here). This organization brings fun and funding to hospitals at Halloweentime by providing costumes, accessories and decorations. They work through Child Life Department which works year round, not just during holidays!
- Make any donation. A donation does not, and should not, need to be a reaction of a Holiday, we can donate year round! If you can, consider donating to a local food bank, Church, animal shelter, YMCA, etc., just because we are blessed enough to do so!
Let’s do Halloween right by giving out fun treats, always respecting and including those around us and donating what we can! Have a happy and safe All Hallows Eve!