Recession Mama Michele Ashamalla: I like to give out something good for Halloween. I don't want to be one of those houses where the kids leaving tell the kids approaching not to bother. My fallback is a giant bag of good candy from Costco, which is about $10 or $11, and gets us through the night. But I do like to do a little something different, if possible. (Not like those dentists who hand out toothbrushes -- I'm not looking to get egged ....) In our downtown area, I can buy a pack of 100 bracelet-size glow sticks for $7. If I really want to go crazy, I could hand out the necklace ones, which are three colors and $18 for 100. One year, there was a closeout on those little white bottles of bubbles people use at weddings.
I snapped them up and tied a little black and orange curling ribbon around the cap before handing them out. Stickers, temporary tattoos and pencils are also great to hand out. Big Lots and other stores sell big bags of spider rings that cost $2 and have about 80 rings in them. Some stores also have 10-packs of vampire teeth for a buck or two. I have found that the best mix is a few bucks' worth of candy (maybe gummy skeletons or pumpkins from the 99 Cent Store that come 10 to 20 to a pack) and a mixture of vampire teeth, spider rings and maybe a 10-pack of Halloween pencils. The best part of the non-food giveaways is that you're not sneaking mini Snickers by the handful while the kids are asleep. Just pack up the rest with your Halloween decorations and bring it out next year.