Who says the treat in "trick or treat" has to be candy? What's wrong with a box of raisins, a bag of mini-carrots, or a pencil?
To find out, we went straight to the source.
Kelly Tufto, a third-grade teacher in St. Michael, Minn., asked her students what they would want in their Halloween sacks if they couldn't have sweets.
"They loved the idea of candy alternatives," she said. Suggestions included Legos, Halo Mega blocks, 3-D video games, American Girl dolls and Fluffy Puppies.
Just one problem. A single Fluffy Puppy sells for $25. That's what the average household spends on candy for all pirates and princesses, according to the National Retail Federation.
But not all toys and games are scary expensive. Kids might like any number of items in the dollar section at Target or other discounters. Look for tiny decks of cards, plastic jewelry, glow sticks, bubble bottles, noisemakers and vampire teeth.
For creative types, Alexis from Tufto's class has the right idea -- art supplies. Think stickers, small tubs of Play-Doh, temporary tattoos, origami paper, coloring books, fancy pens or pencils, or Halloween erasers.
If you insist on giving the little zombies something healthful to snack on, try sugar-free gum, granola bars, fruit leather, single-serving nuts or pretzel packets.
John Ewoldt • 612-673-7633 or firstname.lastname@example.org.