Not everyone in the nation is lucky or unlucky enough to get snow in the winter; I guess it would depend on the way you look at it. If you are in need of the white fluffy stuff to make a winter scene or enhance a party and you are short of the wet, white fluffy stuff there are alternatives. So get ready as we make that (fake) snow fly.
If you have young children or pets that have access to the winter scene you are in need of fake snow for, you may want to keep to the edible fake snow. Dried mashed potato flakes make a nice softly falling snow and give an accumulating snow appearance when on the ground. However, make sure that it doesn’t get wet or you may have a mess on your hands.
Salt also works well as a falling snow and when sprinkled on items it is a nice sparkly snow. The sugar that you find in Pixie Sticks may also work if you can find the color that you need, it doesn’t make good falling snow but it can be sprinkled around what you need to be snow covered. If you can’t find a color in the pixie sticks you like, such as light blue or white, granulated sugar can be substituted. If you are in a bind and have nothing else, powdered sugar or flour can be used as a stand in. Use these two only as a last resort though as they are too fine of a powder to give a good falling effect or illusion of sitting snow.
Lastly, while it makes terrible falling and sitting snow, marshmallows can be used as compacted snow. For example small marshmallows can be put together for an igloo and the large marshmallows can be stacked to make a snowman.
*Not So Edible Alternatives
Starting with the simplest, cut up paper into small pieces and you have a gently drifting snowfall. The best paper snow is pre-cut confetti because it is usually made of tissue paper which drifts even better then real paper. Also the little paper circles that are made with a hole punch work really well as the circles give the illusion of a round snowflake when they fall.
Powder soap such as laundry detergent, bubble bath or dishwasher detergent make a good falling snow but an even better sitting snow because it’s a course powder. Same as with the powdered mashed potatoes do not get the soap wet or you will really have a wintry and potentially hazardous mess on your hands. Cotton balls can be used as piled up snow but it makes a terrible falling snow.
There are more advanced methods you could use also but I generally leave those to the professionals, such as the ski resorts. If you are in desperate need of continuously falling snow I would purchase a theatrical snow machine. I have seen them used at Disneyland during Christmas and it gives a very real feeling of snow until you look closer and find that it is simply tiny clumps of bubbles.
Whatever fake snow you decide is best for your and your needs, enjoy your new winter wonderland.