Gluten-Free & Allergy-Free Halloween Treats (and helpful tricks, too!)
We are coming up on the spookiest night of the year, and for little boos with food allergies or gluten intolerance, the scariest part of this food-centric holiday can be the candy. Not to fear: We’re here to help with a guide to the sweet stuff safe for those who need to steer clear of gluten and other specific ingredients—because your little one shouldn’t miss out on even one sec of the frightful fun!
Don’t Get Glutened
- Ask friends and neighbors that a separate bowl of gluten-free or allergen-free candy be made available. (Mom & Dad can also opt to distribute their own bowl of treats to neighbors before the trick-or-treating begins.)
- Don a decoy candy bag: All you have to do is purchase two identical bags and fill one with a wide range of kiddo-safe candies. At the end of the evening, simply swap out the bag so your child has the adventure of going door to door without risking a reaction.
- Older children can opt to trick-or-treat for charity, through organizations like UNICEF.
- For friends and neighbors who are empathetic and aware to your child’s situation, and if you’re ambitious enough (maybe the Martha Stewart gene didn’t skip you!) consider hosting a neighborhood block party with a nice, big, safe zone for gluten-free and allergy sufferers.
- Get a house call from the “Halloween Fairy.” The “Halloween Fairy” comes to your home—usually while the kids are brushing their teeth before bed—and takes all of the leftover allergen-unsafe candy left outside for her in a basket. In exchange, she leaves kiddos a gift…or two. Good deal!
Ready, Set, Safe
While you’re buying costumes and decorating the house, make sure your little one’s medications (antihistamine & epinephrine auto-injector or “Epi Pen”) are up-to-date before leaving the house, as auto-injectors typically expire within one year. And be sure you’re carrying it—and a flashlight for easy access—close by and in a safe place while you’re out and about on Halloween eve.
Skip the Allergies, Not the Fun
Checking labels becomes very pivotal because during the holidays, including Halloween, when the manufacturers churn out millions of mini small-sized candies. They’re often mass-produced on shared equipment, and rarely list all ingredients on each little treat. So candy that’s safe other times of the year might not be safe during Halloween. When in doubt, if it’s not entirely clear on the label, call the customer service phone number written on the product or go to the website online for further clarification. These days, manufacturers anticipate these calls and are well-equipped to put your mind at ease with articulate information.
Food for Thought: Allergy-Free Candy Picks
Allergy free certainly doesn’t mean fun free! Here’s a 2014 list of candies we’ve found to be free of the most common trouble-makers, like peanuts and tree nuts, gluten and dairy. Feel free to use these lists as general guidelines to help navigate your way down the grocery aisle. Remember to check ingredient lists each and every time as recipes and manufacturing practices change from time to time. Also, one family’s allergy solution can be another’s problem area. Drumroll, please! Here are our allergy safe top ten Halloween candies in alphabetical order:
- Amanda’s Own Sunbutter Cups (Great alternative for Nut Allergies, also Gluten & Casein Free)
- Divvies (Free of Top 8 Allergens)
- Dubble Bubble Original Chewing Gum (Nut-free, Gluten-free, Kosher too!)
- Fun Dip
- Life Savers Gummies Spooky Shapes
- Surf Sweets (Free of Top 8 Allergens, Gluten-free, Corn-Syrup-free, Free of additives & dyes)
- Vermont Nut Free Chocolates (The name says it all! Gets the Gold Star on quality, taste, flavors & variety)
Do you have any other food sensitivities at home? Tell us what you do to make sure your family gets the biggest spook-factor out of Halloween.
Photo Credits: Flickr / Juushika Redgrave, Schwartz Family photo