Every year on October 31st around dusk, the neighborhood becomes a little more active with the sights and sounds of trick-or-treating. Kids, teenagers, (and yes, even some adults!) dress up in their favorite character or monster armed with a special container ready to be filled with goodies!

Of course there are the traditional treats, which in the past several years seems to be store-bought fun size candy bars and individually wrapped hard candy or gum. Not that there is anything wrong with getting candy, but what about some other ideas for giveaways?

First, some criteria for alternative trick or treat giveaway ideas:

Inexpensive! Sometimes buying Halloween candy can really add up. Bags of candy can range anywhere from $6 for the cheaper brands to $15 for the fancy Hershey miniatures. It's very rare that I have been able to buy less than 3 bags for all the children that come to my door, even if I just give them one or two pieces.

Small size. Children love getting small treats, and the giveaways need to be able to fit in their bags.

Easy and fast. As much as most of us would love to show off our creative side by making homemade treats and crafts, a lot of us just don't have the time.

Second, here are some ideas of trick or treat giveaways on Halloween night:

Money – What about giving each child a quarter? I know a quarter doesn't mean much these days, but for kids it could mean an extra treat at school or a turn at the gumball machine. A roll of quarters is worth $10 and can be purchased at your local bank. You get 40 quarters per roll, which will go a long way on Halloween night. Besides, it gives the little ones something to put in their purses or wallets.

Pencils – fun pencils can be purchased pretty cheap at your local dollar store. Halloween themed ones are always good but any fun colors or characters will work just as well.

Party favors – another dollar store bargain. Buy little trinkets that you would normally use to fill up goodie bags at parties and give them out as trick or treat favors instead.

Glow in the dark items – these can be bought online in bulk at very cheap prices. Children love things that glow in the dark, especially on Halloween.

In addition to browsing your local dollar store, try visiting online retailers like Oriental Trading or Ebay. You would be surprised at what how much you can purchase for a little amount of money, even with shipping costs. Plus the options are endless!

With a little planning and creativity, you can find safe and fun alternatives to giving out candy on Halloween night. The parents in your neighborhood will appreciate the thought and the kids will appreciate having something different!