Halloween is here again, and for many of parents, it’s a scary time of year for kids on special diets and allergies. How do we keep our kids safe from the many foods they can’t eat at this time of year? For example, here is my daily list of foods my kids avoid:
- dairy and caseins
Of course, one option is to keep them home, but that does nothing to teach them what they should or should not be eating on a day like or event like this? So how can a parent safeguard their child?
Tips to Fill Your Teal Pumpkin
The Teal Pumpkin is a relatively new idea. If you see a teal pumpkin while trick or treating, that means that some kind of allergy- or sugar-free food or a nonfood option is available there.
- If you are painting a pumpkin teal, use safe paint. Start in your own neighborhood by just jumping in and offering to the local kids. I guarantee you’ll be a hit! But keep the paint safe too.
- Buy high-quality treats. Get the good stuff, toss the soy-filled, non-organic junk. In 2015, we have lots of options for our kids, which I’ll outline below.
- Work with others. A friend throws an annual party and no matter how hard we try, Zoe gets the food. This year, I’m going to work with my friend and strategize how we can keep her away from the food, maybe bring her to a fun area or put down some toys she loves. In addition, I always attend the school holiday parties to keep her away from the wrong treats.
- Go easy on myself. As long as dyes/preservatives, glutens and caseins don’t make an appearance, I can live with a smattering of corn, soy, MSG or GMOs. A SMATTERING ONLY! Truth is while I believe these are harmful, I haven’t seen an extreme behavioral difference on infractions. Well, either that or they are much MUCH harder to remove than I ever believed possible.
Recommended Allergen-Free Halloween Candy Treats Available in Stores
And now, what you’ve been waiting for – my list of approved candies for 2015 with all the details! These you can find in your local grocery market, Whole Foods or health food store:
- Surf Sweets: Made with MSG-free natural colors & flavors, made with organic fruit juice & sweeteners, no corn syrup. They are made in a facility that is free of 10 most common allergens including peanuts. They are free of glutens, dairy/casein, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish, shellfish, sesame, and sulfites. Products are made in a mold of cornstarch and may have trace amounts of it, and some flavors are diluted with corn alcohol. Some vegan products. Feingold diet approved. FAQ page for more info.
- Glee Gum: Gluten-free but not corn-free. Comes in natural flavors. Glee Gum does not contain any of the eight major food allergens: milk, egg, fish, Crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, wheat, peanuts, or soybeans. However, soy is present in the facility where Glee Gum is made. Sugar-free Glee Gum contains xylitol. And new this year are Halloween Glee Gum pops! FAQ page for more info.
- Annie’s Organic Fruit Snacks: They are gluten-free, vegan, and contains no artificial flavors, synthetic colors or preservatives, no high fructose corn syrup. USDA organic certified. Allergens listed on the product. Annie’s Homegrown always lists if a product is made on shared equipment with any of the top eight allergens directly underneath the ingredient statement. FAQ page for more allergen info.
- Yummy Earth Gummy Bears, Sour Jelly Beans, Fruit Snacks, and Lollipops: Gluten-free, dairy-free, tree nut & peanut free, soy-free. No artificial dyesNon-GMO sugar beet citric aced Facility does not process any of the eight major allergens (peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, milk, egg, soy, fish, or shellfish/crustaceans). Stage 2 Feingold approved. Kosher. USDA certified organic. FAQ page for more allergen info.
- Enjoy Life Chocolate Bars: Comes in Dark Chocolate, Ricemilk Crunch Ricemilk Chocolate. From the site: “all Enjoy Life Foods products are free-from the eight most common food allergens in the United States, as declared by the FDA — wheat, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, soy, fish, and shellfish. In addition, our products are made in our allergy-friendly facility, so there’s no chance of contamination. We also are free from Canada’s twelve priority food allergens, which include the top eight plus sulfites, crustaceans, sesame, and mustard.” Read their allergy page for more info. Get $0.55 off any Enjoy Life product.
- Bitsy’s Brainfood Spooky Snacks: NOT gluten or dairy-free, but they are nut-free and made in a nut-free facility. USDA Organic. Available at Wegman’s and Target.
Online Allergen-Free Halloween Candy Options
If you haven’t seen what you want yet, here are some online shops that can help in your candy search:
- Honey Straws: Gluten free, peanut free. No peanut products processes in the facility that makes them. 100% Grade A honey and natural extracts for flavors. Many are Kosher.
- Natural Candy Store: Shop by organic, dye free, allergen free, etc. or use their “special diets advanced search” tab to drill down food restrictions.
Other Ideas to Help You Enjoy Halloween
- Skipping trick or treating altogether; do something different, still fun like a progressive party with activities, games, haunted house, etc
- Prepare a very special meal to celebrate the fun aspects of Halloween.
- Here my recipe for Gluten, Dairy, Soy and Corn Free Halloween Graveyard Candy Cake. (Be careful, grown-ups loved this one too!)
- Turn candy into science experiments. See Green Halloween for ideas! (This one’s my favorite!)
- Bitsy’s Brain Food For Halloween
- Enjoy A Fear-Free Halloween
- Your Guide for Halloween with Special Needs & Autism
- Gluten, Dairy, Soy and Corn Free Halloween Graveyard Candy Cake
- Halloween Recap: A good year