Trick-or-Tofu Treats

We’ve talked about the costumes, so let’s talk about the candy.

Although I’m a bit of a gum whore, I’ve made no secret to the fact that I’m not a “sweets” person. But to each their own, and if there is ever a time and a place for treats, it’s at Halloween. Candy is part of the tradition, and some traditions don’t need any updating or modification.


In other words, don’t try and make Halloween a healthy holiday.

I was lucky in that I lived in one of the “good” neighborhoods filled with houses of young children and eager parents ready to turn on the spooky sounds tape and serve as our sugar daddies/moms for the night. We would race from house to house in small gangs, maniacally ringing the doorbell and waiting for the owner to drop some sort of treat into our impatiently-thrust candy collection contraption—a plastic pumpkin, an empty pillowcase, etc.

When we got home, our bounty from the evening was strewn across the floor and open for inspection. Favorites were hoarded and hidden while the less-liked items were up on the trading block.

Always popular were the mini-candy bars of just about any type—the Snickers, Baby Ruth, Milky Way, Peanut Butter cups, that elusive Krakel that seemed so difficult to secure. I also liked the little boxes of Milk Duds even though there were only three in the whole damn box and they basically ripped your teeth out of your head.

When it came to trade bait, Smarties topped the list for me—little chalk disks wrapped in plastic, in my opinion—and candy corn was basically colored wax and quickly discarded. Things like jawbreakers, butterscotch disks, gumballs and mints were lost on us.


Flavored Tootsie Rolls should not exist.

But then there were some of the more “non-traditional” treats that found their way into our bags of pilfered goods. I remember getting coupons for a free French fry at Burger King, some plastic toys that were quickly tossed aside once identifiable as inedible, popcorn balls also quickly tossed aside once identifiable as inedible, coins and the occasional “healthy” offering.

Yes, once in awhile fruit (not in the form of a fruit roll-up,) crackers, baby carrots, boxes of raisins, etc. were offered.

Now you know I’m the first person to champion healthy alternatives to sugar-laden snacks, but to all of those well-meaning people out there—don’t try to health up Halloween.

With correct parental guidance, most children will consume these healthier items on a daily basis in their lunches or after school. And while it may seem like a practical offering, holidays — not to mention children — are not about being practical. They did not get dressed up and excited for you to dole out an apple.


Unless it’s covered in caramel and shoved on a stick, the apple just won’t fly.

So while I understand the epidemic of childhood obesity and agree that there is much that needs to be done, there needs to be tradition. Candy is part of the tradition, and if they eat too much of it, they may just learn a lesson about the dangers of too much sugar and moderation (that will inevitably be forgotten by the time Halloween rolls around once again.)

After all, it’s trick-or-treat—not trick-or-tofu treats—and we owe it to the younger generation to keep the traditional alive.

Plus, you can always eat the “leftovers.”

What was your favorite Halloween candy? Your least favorite? Are you one who dishes out fruit or fruit-flavored Blow-Pops?

38 responses to “Trick-or-Tofu Treats

  1. Halloween is chocolate and pumpkin pie for me. My kids are all about gum, smarties/hard candy and candy bars. We don’t health up the holidays. The kids love dressing up and getting candy. No need to make them feel less than thrilled.

    Good post

  2. The worst ever was travel toothbrushes and a mini toothpaste! But here, this year, even the parents get a treat. I’ve been buying travel sized booze for months! Now just have to not put it in the kids bags…

    • I would love travel toothbrushes and mini toothpaste, but then again, I’m an adult with an oral hygiene obsession, so there’s that… At any rate, our parents implemented “Trick-or-Beer” in our neighborhood years ago, but I think I would rather do “Trick-or-Liquor” in yours. Can I bring a dish to pass?

  3. AMEN.

    no healthy on Halloween! that’s part of the fun. when we were kids my neighborhood was awesome – we had one house that handed out bags of chips (worked at Frito Lay) and another that gave Toblerones!

    this year? I want to go to Leanne’s house… 😉

  4. I loooove tootsie rolls! I’ve always been a mini Snickers kind of girl and also never “got” Smarties (m&ms are another story). I hated those little “rockets” (powdered disks) and anything to do with licorice.

    Even though I didn’t mind apples in my bag, I never ate them because I was worried about finding a razor blade in them. I SWEAR that’s why I never ate them 😉

    Weirdest thing I ever got was a hard-boiled egg.

    • Now I would love to be able to go house to house for produce, although at this point, I would be considered a beggar and probably arrested. However, when I was little, I was all about the candy. Even though I didn’t really like it and actually preferred “healthy” things even back then, it was fun to indulge and feel superior to friends who were stuck with the crap candy. And an egg? Really? How is that even legal?

  5. I never loved eating all the candy, however what I loved was organizing it (even pre-ED!). My favorite was laying it all out after I got home. My favorite candy however was a 5th avenue. I don’t think they even make those anymore!

    • Agreed. I used to organize them into separate groups, decide what I was going to trade/save for my mom (her favorites) and then portion them out for the rest of the week.

  6. What’s left in the bottom of my candy dish when all the good stuff is picked out is any hard candy, dots (the absolute WORST, who actually likes the boxes of dots???), most fruity candy, most lollipops (minus the chocolate tootsie roll pops), and definitely any boxes of raisins or anything that does not contain at least 3tbsp of sugar per serving. My favorite was always mini snickers.

  7. Amazingly, my students LOVE those flavored Tootsie Rolls. WTF? I always buy candy I don’t like. That ends up being anything super sour. Kids love that.
    We had a house on our block that gave out pennies. PENNIES. Like anyone can do anything with pennies. But it would empty out your change jar…. Genius?

    • I used to love the psychotically sour stuff when I was younger too. What is it about being young and wanting your eyes to water out of your head and then inflict the pain on your friends (and then do it all over again?) As for the pennies, save them up to buy a dozen eggs. Fling accordingly.

  8. I was a ninja at sneaking into my brothers’ candy for reese’s pb cups and kit kats.

  9. I am sorry to tell you this, but I big fat puffy heart flavored Tootsie Rolls. LOVE THEM.

  10. Some non-candy treats were alright with me. My mom occasionally gave out Play-Doh, which was ok. Even better was the lady who gave out glow necklaces. But then you had the other “creative” types. Like the lady who gave us rulers. Rulers? Really? What were you thinking, lady?

    • Ooh! Play-Doh would be fun. We had a million kids in our neighborhood, so things like that would have been quite expensive. As for the rulers, you all should have banded together and stuck all your rulers into her perfectly manicured yard like pink flamingos. Next year I can guarantee she’ll switch to chocolate…

  11. ummmmk

    1. i never ever once went trick or treating. even though we lived in the country with like ten houses of people we knew.

    2. THATS how paranoid my mom was.

    3. i love u. marry me?

    • 1. You need to go trick-or-beering now as an adult, to make up for lost time.
      2. Hopefully she at least bought you candy for the night, or else she might have been screwing you out of a holiday simply because she was cheap (no offense.)
      3. As long as we can elope to some warm climate and sip boat drinks on the sand instead of some tedious ceremony that require nylons and a real bra, I accept your proposal. Very thoughtful of you to ask!

  12. 3 Muskateers bars were my jam. I want one right now!

  13. Well I’m a fan of chocolate, so I would trade all the candy for that. I was also the freak that loved the popcorn balls and apples handed out that the other kids HATED.

  14. My initial reaction is there is no such thing as bad Halloween candy but after a bit of thought I abhor anything black licorice. Also not a fan of Kit Kats.
    How you can not love flavored tootsie rolls and candy corn is beyond me. I’ve eaten both to the point of nausea and unlike tequila, have come back again and again. Tequila never again.

  15. It always made me smile when I got those Reese’s peanut butter pumpkins. They’re huge compared to all of the other bite-sized fun bars and peanut butter is always win. This was the only time I would ever eat Bit-O-Honey candies too, seeing as they were all right and tasty, but never something I would buy for myself (or beg my parents to buy for me).

    I love the cherry / vanilla Tootsie Rolls, though, too! And it was neat / awesome when you got some random candy that you weren’t familiar with and it turned out to be really awesome (unfortunately I lack an example at the moment, but I’m sure most people can relate).

    I also remember my mom telling me to throw away ANY candy with just the SLIGHTEST tear or loose wrapper just incase someone thought it was funny to poison or throw a razor into my candy.

    • I actually read somewhere that the Reese’s holiday PB cups are (considered) so much better because the chocolate to PB ratio is completely different from that of the average PB cup. I think it’s something like twice the PB to chocolate with the holiday ones and twice the chocolate to PB for the everyday PB cups.

  16. One year, my son was about 5 years old. We went trick-or-treating. A family gave him a big sleeve of saltine crackers!! I was thinking ‘Crackers? Crackers?? Who gives a kid crackers on Halloween?? I was gonna trick em, and maybe crush em all up and strew them around in their yard, but my son was super excited about them. He went home yelling “Daddy, Daddy, I got CRACKERS!!!!!” 🙂

    • Crackers?!? I know one year we ran out of candy and started going through our cupboards for whatever we could find–gum, granola bars, etc.–but we drew the line at canned goods. However, if your son was into it, rock on!


    The worst, those were.

    Incidentally, I don’t mind the flavored Tootsie rolls. Fake fruit waxy shit is okay with me. Dots are the best…mmmmmm.

  18. I was never a big candy person… I give out gift certificates for frosties and glow sticks

  19. I now have an image of young children in a small gang running wild through a neighborhood kicking adults in the knees for candy and taking them hostage. This is what happens when I read blogs without having a cup of coffee.

    I hate the people who tried to healthy up Halloween. Let us enjoy candy for one day, will ya? My fave was and still is Almond Joy. Least favorite? Nothing.

  20. I totally agree! No healthing up Halloween! The chocolate mini bars ARE always the best. No doubt!

  21. I’ve only been trick-or-treating once in my whole life. I got two full bags and finished it in a week. I think my favorite were gummies. Chewy candies that stick to your teeth like Dots and Twizzlers and Swedish fish.

    HATE smarties. Eew.

  22. Pringles are the only junk food I eat, so halloween candy was never overly appealing. Although I’d get a bunch and trade my brother for stuff..haha worked well.

  23. Love the message here. I’m as anti-HFCS as any other savvy nutritious eater, but I can’t bear the vilification of food groups, and I’d actually credit the good/evil treatment of food in this country to many of our health problems, including obesity. Yes, we should limit candy consumption in kids, and yes, fruit leather is nice. But would I ever dream of robbing my child the experience of trick or treating? Nope.

  24. This is so funny. Was just at the new Whole Foods that opened up around here (thinking blog post material) and they actually had Halloween “candy” in the little packages that wasn’t candy at all but those organic bunny grams. While I am a fan of the bunny grams, this is not what Halloween is all about. It’s about the sugar, chocolate and preservatives. I always buy the good stuff to give away, Snickers bars, Kit Kats, etc. It’s the way it should be.

  25. –Tofu?
    NOpe. Give give give me the Chocolate… !!

  26. Ahhh Halloween. The people who gave out full sized chocolate bars, chips or cans of pop were the best.

    I love the fact my kids are pretty picky about candy. Means tons of goodies for me!
    visiting from write on edge

  27. Anyone who handed me Necco Wafers deserved an egging. Dusty discs? Not delicious. At all.

    I was a peanut butter cup girl. Was. Then at age 15, I couldn’t eat chocolate anymore. And both my kids have my chocolate intolerance.

    So i can’t even buy bags of chocolate to put out for Halloween. Which could make me The Lame House, but I overcompensate. Not only do i give loads of options of non-chocolate (good) candy, but also throw in tattoos & spider rings and surprises of that nature. And let kids take fistfulls. because everyone deserves to attempt a cavity on Halloween.

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