For most kids, Halloween is a time for costumes, parties, trick or treating, and candy eating. Halloween candy is exciting for every child, but facing restrictions of a gluten-free diet while Trick-or-Treating can be challenging and disappointing for children. And for those with food allergies, it can be just plain old scary, so here is allergy-safe Halloween Trick or Treating explained.
I suggest discussing the experience ahead of time to set expectations to keep the night fun. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, food allergies among children increased by 50% between 1997 and 2011.
Eight foods account for 90% of all food-allergic reactions:
- tree nuts (walnuts, almonds, cashews, pistachios, pecans etc.)
- fish & shellfish
What’s up with the teal pumpkins for Halloween?
Five years ago, FARE, a national non-profit devoted to Food Allergy Research & Education, created the Teal Pumpkin Project. The idea is simple – a teal pumpkin on your porch designates your home as providing allergen-free options for trick or treaters. Plastic teal pumpkins can be found at many local stores where Halloween decorations are sold.
Consider posting a sign on your door and painting a pumpkin teal to signify that you will be giving out non-food and allergy-friendly treats.
What candy is safe for Halloween this year?
For a comprehensive and updated list of allergen-friendly candy and other prepackaged treats, check out this list on www.celiac.org. Here are some other great alternatives:
- Prepackaged bags of gluten-free pretzels
- Small toys, stickers, pens or pencils – available in bulk from vendors such as Oriental Trading
- Most gummy candies
- Sugar-free gum
Prepackaged, snack-sized bags:
- Rice treats
- Cookies from allergen-free brands, such as Enjoy Life Foods
- Corn chips
- Potato chips
So it’s really actually quite easy – when you head to the store to stock up for Halloween, grab a teal pumpkin and a bag of allergen-free treats. We guarantee that you’ll make plenty of little ghouls, goblins, and their parents very happy!
A Happy and safe Halloween to all from Gluten-Free New England!