Nuts to two Kraft caramels, Smarties, and a Tootsie Pop
October 26, 2007 1:36 PM   Subscribe

What can I hand out at the door this Hallowe'en that'll be a bit better than the usual sort of treat?

We moved this year, to a rather storybookish village of about 2,000. It's a friendly place and full of children, and supposedly I can expect 100-200 trick-or-treaters.

Apparently the previous owners of our house went all out. Many of our neighbours, some without kids, have elaborate displays. The competition is stiff, here...

I'm for blowing a bit of cash, but 100-200 is going to add up quickly. Right now I'm toying with ideas in a variety of price ranges.

Stuff I have thought of:

-- a bag with a variety of fun-size candies, and a small toy. A plastic bug or something. But where, in Canada, can I get a gross of plastic bugs for a good price on short notice?

-- full-size chocolate bars at a minimum; just give out more sugar than people normally do

-- individually wrapped Mrs Fields cookies (er, they're decently priced at the Costco here) or something else that you don't normally see

More ideas are needed for a "OMG, you totally have to go to that lady's house; it was the best" reaction among the local prepubescents. Help?
posted by kmennie to Grab Bag (43 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I do full size chocolate bars.

It doesn't cost a whole lot when bought in bulk and the kids are very impressed.
posted by Argyle at 1:41 PM on October 26, 2007

Kids don't want a plastic bug. They want big, amazing candy.
posted by The World Famous at 1:41 PM on October 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

Full size candy. We do some chocolate and some "other" (nerds rope) for kids with milk allergies, don't like chocolate, etc. We buy in super-bulk from BJ's and its always been a big hit.
posted by anastasiav at 1:43 PM on October 26, 2007

The house giving out full-size chocolate bars were considered the Holy Sepulchre of Trick o Treating while I was growing up.

Kids will remember if you do that.

If you give out anything unexpected, you might get a "oh. that's neat" but full size candy bars will get you remembered and talked about in the hallowed halls of the local elementary school the next day. Kids care about full-size bars; they don't care about a little toy or cookies.
posted by Stynxno at 1:44 PM on October 26, 2007

Full size candy, as indicated above. Surefire hit.
posted by aramaic at 1:45 PM on October 26, 2007

Nthing straight-up full-size candy. That's the way to a kid's heart. Offer a few choices. The gaudier and more disgusting (to an adult) the better.
posted by Camofrog at 1:45 PM on October 26, 2007

Yep. Big ass candy bars. This is what the kids want and this is what they'll remember. The only problem is you can never go back to "fun size."
posted by bondcliff at 1:45 PM on October 26, 2007

king-sized candy!!!!

or pocky sticks. I don't know if they have them in Canada, but you can get a 3-pack for about a dollar from your local Asian market.
posted by chara at 1:46 PM on October 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

Individually-wrapped anything won't fly with a lot of parents, unfortunately.

I'm the "OMG, you totally have to go to that lady's house" person in my neighborhood. I give out full size candy bars and have a big cooler of cans of soda and juice boxes on ice. Kids totally freak over having something to drink. Remember how hot and thirsty you were after walking around in a sweaty costume while nibbling on candy and salty treats? Oh yes, I am well-loved on Halloween - the kids are really grateful. Older kids get soda and the younger ones get juice boxes. If the little ones have a parent or two hovering around, we offer them bottled water or a beer. The parents, that is.

Keep in mind that we only get 50 kids or so.
posted by iconomy at 1:47 PM on October 26, 2007

(I meant individually factory-wrapped cookies!)
posted by kmennie at 1:49 PM on October 26, 2007

This isn't particularly helpful, but the one thing that's stuck in my mind was the homemade popcorn balls from the house of nuns across the street.

We got to eat them because they came from nuns!

So, yeah, some sort of fancy commercial sweet along the line of the cookies (or maybe caramel apples? Though they're a big no-no for kids with braces) is a good idea.
posted by natabat at 1:55 PM on October 26, 2007

Beer. This is a sure fire hit with the older kids. Probably not a big hit with the cops or parents (except maybe if you give them beer too).

Seriously though, there were two houses that I remember fondly from childhood. One was the family that gave out full-sized candy.

The other was an old lady that turned her house into a haunted house and had a sort of neighborhood party for all the kids. Simultaniously she threw a dinner party for her friends and had the kids parade through the dining room to show off their costumes to her guests and plied the parents with hor douvres. When she fell and broke her hip and had to stay in a nursing home over halloween one year the neighborhood kids got together and sent her a huge basket of flowers and treats. We friggin' loved that lady!
posted by Pollomacho at 1:56 PM on October 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

Heh, I was at Costco last night and the big boxes of regular-sized candy bars wasn't much at all. They had a number of variety boxes with 4 different kinds in each. Getting 100-200 of those wouldn't be that expensive.
posted by Nelsormensch at 1:56 PM on October 26, 2007

Soda and juice boxes is an awesome idea. Our neighborhood isn't very trick-or-treater friendly, so we go to the zoo with our daughter every year. After walking around for several hours, gorging on sweets and salty snacks, a cold drink would be fabulous. Plus, any leftovers would be easy to store.
posted by MrMoonPie at 1:57 PM on October 26, 2007

Walnuts. The kids love 'em.


Nthing full-sized candy.
posted by Pecinpah at 2:00 PM on October 26, 2007

Yes, size is what matters. Costco is your friend.

I remember getting hand-filled variety packs as a kid, and even at that young age, I thought they were a bit sad.
posted by Reggie Digest at 2:17 PM on October 26, 2007

(But the cookies, as long as they're factory sealed, are an awesome idea.)
posted by Reggie Digest at 2:18 PM on October 26, 2007

Two full size candy bars. Why not?
posted by roygbv at 2:18 PM on October 26, 2007

I still remember the house in the neighborhood that gave out King Size candy bars. I looked forward to going to that house every year. Then she got budget-conscience or something and downgraded to fun-size. Catastrophe!
posted by heatherbeth at 2:31 PM on October 26, 2007

Bigger candy, and separate it in to two bowls, chocolate and non-chocolate, for easy grabbing... Remember to just hold out the bowls and tell them how much they're allowed to take, no one likes being handed candy (especially when everyone seems to think you look like a licorice person--ick).
posted by anaelith at 2:31 PM on October 26, 2007

the best house on my block had a campfire and hotdogs you could cook on it. it was a nice way to warm up on a chilly night. at least back when october used to be cold. also, i liked having something a little salty to break up all the sweet.

i would go for fun candy like ring pops or dippin' stix. or give out regular candy and some sort of glow stick or necklace. kids will wear them, and then be more visible. cool, and safe.

alternatively, you could give out regular mini candies in a fun way. you could decorate the bowl to look like a big monster's mouth and make kids reach in for something.
posted by thinkingwoman at 2:33 PM on October 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

A can of cold soda is a fun idea. I remember one year I went Christmas Carolling in a neighborhood where the folks expected us and had goodies ready to give out, a la trick-or-treating. Candy-canes, gingerbread men, you know, Christmassy stuff. One house was the home of a guy who worked for Pepsi and he gave us each a can of soda and I remember thinking that was pretty cool. I love soda.

You know what I would have been SO psyched to get as a kid? A full-sized pack of Fun Dip--the ones that came with two lik-a-stix and three bags of dipping powder! But maybe I was a weird kid.

A choice between a full-sized traditional treat (mass-produced chocolate bar like Milky Way or whatever) and a full-sized offbeat treat (something you wouldn't normally get on Halloween--Sour Patch Kids? I don't know, it's been a while) is probably fool-proof.

My reservation with a cookie would be that it might smush or crumble in their bags of loot.

You could give them each a can of silly string. They would LOVE that. Your neighborhood association probably wouldn't, though.
posted by lampoil at 2:35 PM on October 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

I can't believe the number of people advocating products made with HFCS. Please think of our children's health.

As a healthy alternative, why not hand out fire crackers and bottle rockets? Don't forget the matches!
posted by kscottz at 3:14 PM on October 26, 2007 [4 favorites]

I see that one million people have already said what I came in to say, but who's counting?

Three words:

Full. Size. Candybar.

You will be as a god to them.
posted by Aquaman at 3:20 PM on October 26, 2007

Oh man, full size candy bar!!!
posted by KAS at 3:29 PM on October 26, 2007

I go all out for Halloween. The three things that have been the biggest hits for us were:

1. Full size candy bars. Obvious choice. Bonus for the last kid of the night because I just dump the bowl in their bag - I don't want extra candy in my house.
2. Goody bags with the fun-size Playdoh. Costco sells it in a Halloween pack. I was shocked at how many kids were excited about it, even the teens.
3. Capri-Sun or other juice boxes. We didn't do this, but our neighbor did, and we could hear lots of happy kids. The bonus to it was that he knew he'd bought X number of boxes, so he could shout out to us "25 kids" - "50 kids" etc as the night went on, and then we knew exactly how much to buy for next year.
posted by librarianamy at 3:51 PM on October 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

Please think of our children's health.

On Hallowe'en? Look, if it was grown-ups coming to my door, I'd hand out drugs. Hallowe'en is no time for health!
posted by kmennie at 3:52 PM on October 26, 2007

I found a bunch of those little gelcap things that you put in water and out pops a sponge dinosaur or bug in the dollar bins last Easter and they were a big hit with the nieces and nephews. Check the local dollar stores for stupid crap their parents would never let them blow their allowances on.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 3:53 PM on October 26, 2007

Ooh. I'm not advocating this in place of the full-size candy bars, but possibly in addition: glowsticks or glow bracelets in assorted colors. I've seen sets of 15 glow bracelets for about $1 at some stores (try party supply stores or craft stores), plus they have the added benefit of making trick-or-treaters more visible to passing traffic. The only way I can imagine it going wrong is if everyone's already glowsticked to the nines before leaving the house.
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:18 PM on October 26, 2007 [2 favorites]

It's been a while since I went trick or treating, but I totally remember the lady who handed out caramel apples and popcorn balls because basically we had to start eating them right away. It was like a little snack to tide us over.
posted by 23skidoo at 4:23 PM on October 26, 2007

Chara, please direct me to 30 cent boxes of Pocky! The best I can do (in Vancouver) is 1.19 each in Chinatown (they're 1.49 at the occidental super-groceries.)

You know, for the, um... children....
posted by rokusan at 4:23 PM on October 26, 2007

I've seen the effect FULL SIZE CANDY BARS! has on kids. One of our neighbors does it. (As a kid, his parents didn't let him do halloween - so this is his sweet revenge!) The kids go nuts. Word spreads ... and you will get more than the usual number of visitors. Next year ... even more. In fact, according to my neighbor, the only drawback to full size candy bars is the potential backlash if/when you decide to NOT give them out.

BTW, kids want candy, period.
posted by R. Mutt at 5:09 PM on October 26, 2007


Nthing the 'you will be as a god unto them' effect.
posted by kalimac at 5:16 PM on October 26, 2007

Of course, you could offer the little tykes' parents a discreetly camouflaged cold beer, if you really want to earn a gold star. The dads go nuts. Word spreads ... and you will get more than the usual number of visitors. Next year ... even more. Of course, the only drawback to secret beer is the potential backlash if/when you decide to NOT give it out.
posted by R. Mutt at 5:17 PM on October 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

How about a giant block of chocolate, a hammer, a chisel and plastic bags. Make it a DIY Halloween. Or get one of those chocolate fountains and let kids dip their other candy in there.
posted by Frank Grimes at 5:30 PM on October 26, 2007

depending on your budget, i would recommend either kennedy half-dollars or those new washington dollars.

i used to pass out money when i was in a neighborhood with kids. i wanted to please the kids, but not support the candy industry. the kids who were old enough to spend money expressed their thanks, the younger ones were escorted by parents who expressed their thanks, perhaps for the reassurance that i wasn't passing out poisoned kitkats.
posted by bruce at 5:35 PM on October 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

What about those individually (factory-sealed) wrapped Reese's & Hershey's brownies? Those look really decadent, and if I was a kid & wasn't on a diet, I'd be totally psyched to get one.
posted by tastybrains at 7:16 PM on October 26, 2007

Man, I don't know why you even had to ask this. An informal poll reveals that everyone I know had one house in their neighborhood that passed out full size, and everyone loved those guys.

Alternately, it's pretty cool if you know someone moderately famous and have a party and invite that person and have them go to the door. We had one of those in my neighborhood and when we figured out why the lady at the door looked familiar...

...okay, why try to be subtle, we spent two or three years trying to figure out where we knew her face from before we figured out it was Nora Dunn, and the next year my friend went home before we went to that house, changed costume to look sleazy, and said he was Lorne Michaels. That was the last year Nora Dunn came to the door, but it was about the best trick-or-treating story ever at school the next day. The look on her face was absolutely priceless.

I guess we were a few years too old to be trick-or-treating if the main takeaway of the night was messing with poor Nora Dunn's head.
posted by crinklebat at 8:29 PM on October 26, 2007

Edible bubbles.
posted by inconsequentialist at 9:33 PM on October 26, 2007

no noe mentioned ... firecrackers! ... just a thought
posted by jannw at 5:47 AM on October 27, 2007

We went with the full-sized; went to Costco and got an assortment of chocolate bars, plus Skittles and Kinder Eggs.

We got a lot of "Ohmigod!" and "Wow!"

One little boy called me "the hardest working playa on the street," and a lot said it was the best house they'd been to. I was as a god, etc.

Thanks all...
posted by kmennie at 6:25 PM on October 31, 2007 [2 favorites]

We did sodas, an assortment of Sprite, Coke, and Mountain Dew. We gave the kids a choice, and they seemed really pleased with the idea. I think it's a winner--thanks, iconomy!
posted by MrMoonPie at 6:37 PM on October 31, 2007

A late comment... but - I gave out BOOKS! and sweets. 17 hallowe'en books taken and a whole load of sweets. Had to take down my flashing-eyes bat at 8pm!
posted by LyzzyBee at 12:50 PM on November 6, 2007

« Older Why does my Firefox lose its ability to do DNS...   |   Poetry about migraines / headaches / chronic pain... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.