Updated: Sep 24, 2020
I loved trick or treating as a kid, and eating a bunch of candy until my teeth and stomach hurt. Well, I liked eating them beyond that but the pain definitely slowed me down. When I was 13 a neighbor man told me I was too old to trick or treat and that I should go home. He said this in a joking, laughing tone but I was heart-broken and felt like I wasn't allowed to be out having fun. I went around the rest of the neighborhood with my little brother but never went again after that.
I loved taking my eldest around for his trick or treating when I could get off work. I dressed up in costume and sometimes I even had a friend or two dress up to come along with us while we took him around the streets to enjoy his trick or treating. When he was 13 I was in the hospital, giving birth to his little brother, and couldn't take him around. We told him he could go himself, or a grandparent could go with him if he liked, but he declined. He wasn't as into the dressing up as he used to be. We pushed his little brother along in the stroller for his first and second Halloweens, in a cute costume. We only went to the neighbors directly around us, mostly to say hello to the people we knew, and as an excuse for me to dress up and say hello. He ate some of the chocolates and other candies that he got, and the rest was split up among the adults.
The last few years, since we've been paleo, have been difficult to really enjoy the trick or treating. Realizing that many of our problems have been food sensitivity/allergy-related makes it a stressful lead up and then either choose to have a sad little guy who can't eat 98% of his candy or let him eat it and then have a miserable, in-pain little guy for many days.
We tried the Switch Witch story last year and left out the candy for the Switch Witch to take and leave him a toy. Although this did somewhat help, he told us weeks later that he was upset that the switch witch stole all his candy, despite the fact she had left him toys in return. Our youngest didn't complain but he was only 1 and has never had candy. He was thrilled with the stuffed animal and had no inclining that he should be offended at the candy theft. I was left wondering what we would do the next year.
Well, this is next year from then and the dilemma is more complex than it was last. On top of the usual problem of most of the treats handed out being inedible to most of our family, we now live in a much, much more rural place. While this fact is totally awesome in all other ways, this makes trick or treating on our own road a bit more difficult. Some of our neighbors' driveways are close to 1/4 mile long, and it gets very dark out here; much more so than the suburbs perpetual twilight.
My solution? A private little scavenger hunt! I made a small, separate post for each aspect of the scavenger hunt, but here is the card I made and printed up for the little's to use as their clues. There are lots of treats and a couple 'tricks' hidden in their scavenger hunt, along with haunting of randomly placed ghost treats. We also got them a couple of little costumes from the Dollar tree so they could dress up for the hunt.
Not only did my children have a lot of fun and excitement, but it was also fun and exciting for Kallo and me to watch them figure everything out. I honestly believe this was more fun for all involved than trick or treating could have been. No stress of crowds or horrible weather, no worrying about anyone eating something with an ingredient that would cause tummy troubles or worse, and no bitterness about the switch witch stealing the goodies that were gathered.
I spent a lot of hours fabricating the stuff used in the scavenger hunt in the days leading up to the festivities. We ended up actually doing it on the Saturday after Halloween, partly so that we didn't have to rush to do it late at night, after Kallo arrived home from his day job, and partly to separate it a little from my middle-little's birth on the 30th.
It was well worth all the time spent brainstorming, cutting, gluing, taping, and otherwise crafting all the things we needed. The excitement, joy, and happy screams as they found each item more than made up for the work put into it.
You can save and print the image above, then check out how I made everything in the links below. At the bottom of each of the following pages is a link to the next item on the card and a link back to this main page.