What was the most memorable Halloween treat you ever received when going door to door as a kid?
October 22, 2008 9:35 AM   Subscribe

What was the most memorable Halloween treat you ever received when going door to door as a kid? Looking for creative or unique things to give out during Halloween.

We all remember the houses that gave out full size candy bars, or dollar bills, or other cool items when we were kids... Do you have any memories of the best or most stand outish item you got from a house? I am looking for creative or unique things to give out during Halloween.
posted by ShootTheMoon to Grab Bag (58 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I was the last kids to a particular house one year -- I knocked before they had a chance to shut the light out. The lady didn't have any more candy left, so she flipped the light off and gave me a full-size Toblerone out of her private stash. Score!
posted by nitsuj at 9:40 AM on October 22, 2008

Full size candy bars were the real standouts.
posted by sweetkid at 9:41 AM on October 22, 2008

Any time the candy came in a little orange halloween paper bag, with witches or pumpkins on it, I was happy.
posted by zippy at 9:42 AM on October 22, 2008

During one tampering scare - this would have been sometime in the late 70's, (and yes, we DID have Hallowe'en then, you young whippersnappers) - one house handed out quarters glued to a piece of paper, with the message "This is safe."
posted by Chuckles McLaughy du Haha, the depressed clown at 9:47 AM on October 22, 2008 [2 favorites]

Full size? Try king size.

A choice, of king size candy bars. Reeses, hershey's, twix, snickers, skittles should cover everyone's needs. (except for the diabetics who will probably barter the candy with their siblings)

That house was basically everyone's must hit spot.
posted by shownomercy at 9:52 AM on October 22, 2008

I saw buckets of individually sized play-doh packaged as Halloween give-aways this weekend at Costco. It's something that wasn't around when I was a kid, but if play-doh had been available I would have gone back to that house multiple times. Hell, I had to hold back from buying a package just for myself. There is something hypnotizing about the neon colors.
posted by Alison at 9:54 AM on October 22, 2008

Glow Sticks
posted by spec80 at 9:58 AM on October 22, 2008

I'm sure that this would be heavily frowned upon by today's parents, but there was always a house that gave out styrofoam cups of hot chocolate to both the parents and the kids. This house was always packed - it was always cold on Halloween and the hot chocolate helped. Especially since they had a bowl of mini marshmallows and you could put as many as you wanted in. I grew up in a small town, though.
posted by kerning at 10:03 AM on October 22, 2008

Popcorn balls.
posted by plinth at 10:03 AM on October 22, 2008

Rather than focus on what you give out, you can make a name for yourself in how you give it. Back when I was in the too-old-to-enjoy-trick-or-treating stage, I used to dress up in my dad's clothes (so they'd be baggy) and stuff the extra space with newspaper (so I'd look like a dummy), wear a huge head-covering mask, and sit on the porch in a chair. And not move. I had the bowl of candy in my lap and a sign around my neck that said "we're not home--be fair, take only one piece!" And then I ferociously grabbed every hand that came into the bucket. Kids loved it. I loved it.

Or you could do what my dad did when I moved out...which is trick the kids with spinach. We've lived in our neighborhood a really long time, so long that we know a lot of the neighborhood kids who might not know us. My dad had a can of spinach on standby at the door, and when a group came up that he knew, he'd single out one of the kids and say "hey, are you Timmy Smith?" (Kid says "yeah") "Well, your mom called...she said you have enough candy. Here's a can of spinach for you." And then watch the kid get laughed at and walk uneasily away. And then, of course, call him back and give him multiple treats to make up for the shame. Usually, they find this hilarious in retrospect.

As for what to give out, we had a neighbor who gave out little dollar store toys, like those pull back cars and hopping frogs and stuff. Those lasted long after the candy.
posted by phunniemee at 10:04 AM on October 22, 2008

My wife the last few years has bought a big bunch of fancy pencils (with psychedelic patterns etc.) to give out. I thought this was going to go over like a lead balloon, but it's turned out to be a pretty big hit.
Sure, there's your grumpy half assed trick-or-treaters who can barely be troubled to mumble a "trick-or-treat", who kind of look at you funny and say "pencils?", but the surprising majority of kids have been pretty excited and even choose the pencils over some of the token candy that's in the bowl.
posted by dan g. at 10:09 AM on October 22, 2008

When my daughter was two our neighbourhood was pretty quiet, we had 14 kids come to the door for example. One house gave out trays of Voortman cookies.
posted by Mitheral at 10:11 AM on October 22, 2008

A burlap sack full of pennies. You had to stick your hand way, way in and you could pull out one fistful.

From the stoner hippy house where we weren't supposed to go, Vineyard Haven MA, 1973.
posted by quarterframer at 10:19 AM on October 22, 2008

Yeah, the best houses were either the one where they left out the bowl and you could take it all (stupid selfish kids!) or the ones who gave me the king size charleston chew. King size is the way to go.
posted by Grither at 10:24 AM on October 22, 2008

I give out toys every year, most of them unused Happy Meal type stuff along with new toys my son received as gifts that he wasn't interested in.

Every Halloween, we can hear kids who visited in previous years charging up our driveway screaming, "Yay, it's the Toy House!"
posted by jamaro at 10:31 AM on October 22, 2008

I remember being totally amazed when I snagged a full-size Hershey bar. "Those people must be rich!"
posted by roger ackroyd at 10:34 AM on October 22, 2008

Homemade caramel popcorn balls. oh, and tootsie roll pops. one of the old ladies on my street would make little 'bouquets' of tootsie roll pops for all the neighbor kids... mmmm....tootsie roll pops....
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 10:46 AM on October 22, 2008

One year, we dropped by the neighbors and apparently nobody else had come by, so we each got an entire BAG OF 'FUN SIZE' candy bars.

So, uh ... maybe it was more about quantity than quality back then.
posted by Comrade_robot at 10:49 AM on October 22, 2008

We gave out cans of soda last year. Cheaper than full-size candy bars, but every bit as impressive.
posted by MrMoonPie at 10:53 AM on October 22, 2008

The local bar gave us free cokes. That was kind of cool. One lady would parade you through her large decorated foyer where you would pick up a popcorn ball, an apple, a coke and a candy bar. That was craziness. Eight ounce glass bottles of coke were always a real treat.
posted by caddis at 10:54 AM on October 22, 2008

Money. One year I went up to house just as the lady of the house was walking out the door. She pulled out her coin purse and gave me all her coins, must have been at least $5.00.
posted by govtdrone at 10:57 AM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

Chick tracts.

Memorable, in a disturbing way.
posted by the luke parker fiasco at 10:58 AM on October 22, 2008

One house we visited always gave out Moon Pies. They weren't my favorite food, but for some reason I loved getting them every year--definitely a novelty in a sea of fun size snickers.
posted by Jemstar at 11:02 AM on October 22, 2008

Juice boxes or sodas. I always got thirsty trick or treating and I loved the houses that gave me something to drink.
posted by martinX's bellbottoms at 11:03 AM on October 22, 2008

We designed our route every year around the house that gave out glow sticks & glow in the dark bracelets & necklaces. On years when we were in the middle of a blizzard and it was absolutely miserable we'd always brave it as far as that house.

Depending on the climate, hot chocolate would be awesome. Cold sodas and juice are nice, but it was always freezing when we went trick or treating. Nobody in my neighborhood thought to do it, but it would have gone over really well.
posted by lilac girl at 11:15 AM on October 22, 2008

I didn't get to go trick-or-treating as a kid, but I usually gave out candy. Little bundles with three or four different mini candy bars for each kid were always a big hit.
posted by katillathehun at 11:20 AM on October 22, 2008

Oh, and a small toy. Candy's great, but when there's a prize thrown in like squishy brains or plastic spiders you've made somebody's entire year.
posted by katillathehun at 11:21 AM on October 22, 2008

I give out books! And sweets too. I have a box of books for varying ages (up to goosebumps and then some Agatha Christies so the older kids can feel they have an adult book but I haven't given them something way scary. I try to theme them and the visitors really do love it. I register them all on BookCrossing but haven't had many catches but I'm not bothered about that, I like the fact that I heard a few kids say "oh, it's the book lady!"

Helps that I give out sweets too, though!
posted by LyzzyBee at 11:27 AM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

As stated, full-sized/king-sized candy bars are always a hit, and remembered from year to year. ("Make sure to go to the yellow house on the cul-de-sac! They give out big candy bars!")

I was a big hit one year when a local store was closing its toy department and everything was on clearance. I talked to the manager about buying "in bulk" and he let me buy tons of stuff for pennies on the dollar. Board games / electronic games were $1 and smaller hand-held items and stuffed toys were 50 cents. I filled up a couple shopping carts. I also bought some regular halloween candy. It was a thrill to answer the door and drop some candy in the bag, then reach into my toy stash and give a kid a full sized Electronic Battleship game or something similar. Only problem: I knew I had to follow up next year. Which I did, only not quite as elaborately.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 11:32 AM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

i always loved the plastic glvoes filled with popcorn and candy corn "fingernails."
posted by kidsleepy at 11:35 AM on October 22, 2008

Glow sticks!
posted by Alpenglow at 11:44 AM on October 22, 2008

I like the idea of drinks - for either drinking while you're out schlepping around earning that candy or as a drink to wash down all the candy with. How about those Hug drinks?
posted by Sassyfras at 11:57 AM on October 22, 2008

You could also pair the Hug drinks with some Hershey's kisses and then you'd be handing out Hugs and Kisses . . . awww! (or is that kinda creepy?)

One of my favorite handouts was a gift card/certificate for something like 1 free Happy Meal. It's nice getting candy on the night of Halloween, but also fun to get a gift card to be used later - something to look forward to.
posted by Sassyfras at 12:07 PM on October 22, 2008

One house gave out those little individual cartons of chocolate milk. We loved that house.
posted by BoscosMom at 12:18 PM on October 22, 2008

This is while taking my kids around trick-or-treating...
There used to be a family down the street who owned a local bakery. In retaliation against the hordes of kids that get trucked-in to this neighborhood from other parts of the county, these kind people would give the outsiders the same mini-candies everyone gives out. But, for the neighborhood kids, they would give fresh, warm, homemade donuts.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:19 PM on October 22, 2008

We moved around a lot when I was a kid, but no matter what neighborhood I was in, there was always someone who gave out those little plastic puzzles where you're supposed to tilt it around to get all the tiny balls in the jack-o'-lantern face.

I don't recommend those puzzles.

We got Halloween fortune cookies from one family. I don't know if they were homemade or if some company sold 'em or what, but it was pretty cool. The fortunes inside were jokes of the horrible pun type, such as "What's a skeleton's favorite instrument? The tromBONE!" That's about the most unique treat I remember, and I think kids would still get a kick out of 'em today.

Then there were those inexplicable sesame seed candies. They looked like little plastic-wrapped cubes of birdseed and were usually given out by confused-looking old ladies. To the best of my knowledge none of my brothers or me ever actually ate one of those, though we constantly dared each other to. I still don't know what they're supposed to taste like. They unnerved me.
posted by Spatch at 12:28 PM on October 22, 2008

Yeah, the only out of the ordinary thing I ever got was cans of soda. I once heard a rumour that some record company bigwig was giving out CDs, but this was never confirmed.
posted by yellowbinder at 12:28 PM on October 22, 2008

A lot of people in Arizona give out various kinds of Mexican candy on Halloween. My brother and I always thought that was super cool.
posted by arianell at 12:29 PM on October 22, 2008

Our next door neighbor owned a bar, and they had one of those claw machines, so they bought stuffed animals in bulk. For the neighborhood kids they knew (see Thorzdad's comment above), they gave stuffed animals. That was pretty awesome.

When my wife and I lived in Santa Barbara, we lived in a studio above someone's garage and had a wraparound porch. I put out a "candy chute" (made out of PVC pipe/elbows) hanging from the porch down to the ground outside and hung a bell with a "ring me for more candy" sign.

We just gave out normal Halloween candy (I can't even remember what), but kids LOVED the candy flying out of the chute.
posted by JMOZ at 12:49 PM on October 22, 2008

Spatch: The birdseed things taste of sesame seeds and sugar syrup. They're a total cheap-out candy and break the cardinal rule of trick-or-treat foods. ("Could I buy this in a health food shop?" If the answer is "Yes" this is an unsuitable treat.)

Foreign candy
Scary or impressive presentation

Foreign currency
Health food
posted by the latin mouse at 1:05 PM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

Having once participated in a downtown-business citywide-trick-or-treat kind of thing, I can say I was a little bit horrified to see kids coming from down the street carrying . . live goldfish. Clear plastic bags with water and goldfish. There is no kind of pet store whatsoever downtown.

(When I was a little kid, we lived out in the country and so I couldn't go door-to-door for Halloween until I was nine or so and we moved into town. By that age I just wanted chocolate bars, the more the better. I remember getting pencils too, one time getting a toothbrush, one time being handed FOUR PENNIES.)

An all-time best trick-or-treat memory (as an adult) was when I handed some candy to one little kid (standard pumpkin costume, young enough kid to still be carried by a parent, couldn't talk yet) -- the kid looked very thoughtful, took the candy, just barely was able to put it in his basket, thought about it some more, and then reached into the basket again and offered me a piece of his candy in return.
posted by oldtimey at 1:06 PM on October 22, 2008 [4 favorites]

Here's a bunch of ideas for "seed packets" or "poops"; e.g., packet of Skittles = rainbow seeds, packet of Cheerios = doughnut seeds, packet of marshmallows = snowman poop, etc.
posted by Soliloquy at 1:19 PM on October 22, 2008

The best trick or treat item ever?


A weird old man gave out hobby knives one year when I was a child. I knew better than to tell my parents, but apparently some bozo kid didn't and the old guy received a pretty stern talking to from several angry neighborhood parents.

Oh man, I loved that knife.
I also learned that knives are sharp, and sharp things can cut me. I already knew this, but learning it again the hard way and having to keep it to myself really crystallized the lesson.

You probably couldn't get away with something that cool anymore, but I sure would've dug a glow stick when I was a kid. In fact, if someone gave me a few glow sticks for Christmas I'd still think they're an awesome person.

On a semi-unrelated note, at my younger brother's bachelor party another of my brothers stuffed a pinata full of mini-bottles of booze and small knives. That was the best pinata ever.
posted by terpia at 1:28 PM on October 22, 2008

A local dentist gave out brightly colored playground balls every year. It was only good because our bags were already filled with candy and we liked to go by his house just to see his living room overflowing with the balls because it was so different. It was always a must stop house.
posted by cda at 1:40 PM on October 22, 2008

absolutely king size candy bars.

pencils would also be awesome (but i was a nerd).
posted by misanthropicsarah at 1:53 PM on October 22, 2008

I liked full-sized candy bars. After that, bouncy balls. After that, the little bags of miscellaneous candy.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 1:54 PM on October 22, 2008

We gave out full-sized "Pixie Stix" last year (and will, again, this year) which lead to some sort of hysteria at the end of our driveway with screaming children and a lot of, "OHMYGOD, PIXIE STIX!" from the kids. Clearly a big success.
posted by VioletU at 2:12 PM on October 22, 2008

A few years ago I ran out of candy, so I heated up some frozen taquitos and quesadillas (sans razor blades) and gave those out. Kids loved them. Of course most good parents wouldn't allow their kids to accept something like that.
posted by HotPatatta at 2:52 PM on October 22, 2008

We lived in a marginal Oakland neighborhood once with a lot of families that were working really hard to not wind up in the much worse neighborhoods a few blocks away. Nice people. For some reason, the Halloween we were there we gave out normal mini-candy, small decorative notebooks, pencils, and erasers. (I think they were a mix of Halloween-themed and other colorful decorations.) I was expecting to get egged, but the kids LOVED it and actually went home to drag out their friends who'd already finished trick-or-treating. I was surprised.

Glow necklaces and bracelets rock too--prices vary wildly, so shop around. I love the book idea and plan to do that if I ever get to live in a $@# HOUSE again. Stupid Bay Area. This year we'll probably go get some random Japanese candy at the Japanese grocery store on the off chance that some kids decide to stop into our townhouse.
posted by wintersweet at 3:40 PM on October 22, 2008

Juice boxes & packs of gum were very popular last year. Kids chose those over assorted candy about 75% of the time.

As a kid, I would have loved glow sticks!
posted by belladonna at 5:04 PM on October 22, 2008

You probably couldn't get away with this anymore because it's not wrapped (or maybe I think this because I alternate living in two big cities) but what defined my childhood Halloweens was stopping at the one house on the next block where the woman gave out apple or corn fritters with cinnamon sugar right out of the oven. My dad would make certain we got there, because he got one too.

I never learned the woman's name, and I'm sure she's not there anymore, but we always called her The Fritter Lady. I remember the children of my mother's friend annoying me greatly by asking "Where's the Strudel Girl?"

It's the Fritter Lady! Get it right!

...it was very important to me, then.
posted by ilana at 6:39 PM on October 22, 2008

I was thinking about giving out cards and coloring books with cute pictures of orangutans including information about the palm oil industry and how its taking the orangutans homes away. I was also going to include all the common Halloween candy that use palm oil.

Maybe this is really mean, maybe not? I think I would have been really passionate about something like this as a kid - well I still am now obviously - but I would have liked it.

Kid's love the environment and animals.
One of the most crucial environmental problems of our time is rainforests habitat, one of the biggest contributors is the Palm oil industry. Its important for them to learn about it. If we can get the passion of young kids we might actually be able to tackle these types of problems.

The most common Halloween candies including palm oil are:
Hersey's Kisses and Hugs
Almond Joy
Pay Day Caramel Bar
Reese's Peanut Butter Snacksters
Reese's Crispy Cruc Bar
Twizzlers Strawberry
Symphony Almonds & Toffe Chips Milk Chocolate Bar
Kit Kats

More information
on the problems with palm oil.

An adorable story
about girls scouts who refused to sell girl scout cookies because they contained palm oil.
posted by ChloeMills at 7:06 PM on October 22, 2008

Every year a house in my home town would open up the garage door, lay out some tables, and just have a ton of cider donuts and apple cider. I remember the exact house to this day, so thats definitely my vote. But its gotta be good cider, and good donuts. See if you can get them in bulk from a local orchard, depending on the crowds you are expecting.
posted by MaHaGoN at 9:09 PM on October 22, 2008

I don't think anyone would dare do this anymore but the best Halloween treat I ever got was the year someone gave out cupcakes! That was awesome.
posted by Lynsey at 9:19 PM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

I'm really showing my age here, but I remember one house giving out Wacky Packs one year when I was a kid, which was pretty awesome.
posted by Oriole Adams at 9:28 PM on October 22, 2008

Glow sticks and soda.
posted by thebrokenmuse at 1:49 AM on October 23, 2008

For me it wasn't about the treat as much as the presentation. We loved going to the houses where the people were dressed up and had scary decorations and music playing. Our one neighbor set up a mini "spook house" in his garage with cider and games even. I remember being thrilled bobbing for apples and finding a silver dollar stuck in it.

We also had another neighbor who traveled a lot and would hand out those mini airline bottles of booze to all the parents who accompanied their children.

Good times.
posted by NoraCharles at 8:22 AM on October 23, 2008

One of the houses on my street was known as the "toothbrush" house. The house was owned by a dentist who gave out glow in the dark toothbrushes. Toothbrushes were always a hit with the parents, and as a kid they were cool because they glowed and lasted long after Halloween.
posted by oceano at 12:10 AM on May 2, 2009

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