(Gluten Free Family Life) Handling Halloween
Elizabeth Carroll

Photo: Elizabeth Carroll

October 18, 2012

Halloween is one of the holidays that children really look forward to, but for kids with special diets, it requires some planning.  

There are many ways to handle the candy when your children can not eat every treat that they collect. My mother used to “buy” the candy from my little brother -- she'd pay him about 5 cents per piece -- not bad for the 1970's! My brother liked this arrangement, he was always one to save his money. Other parents encourage their children to donate their candy to a charity which accepts wrapped Halloween treats, perhaps in exchange for another reward.

I have also seen parents give as treats things that every child can enjoy -- small toys, a couple of pennies or a nickel, and fruit.    

That's a lot of candy in that bag! (Photo: Elizabeth Carroll)

At our house, I simply buy several bags of gluten-free candy that my daughter really enjoys and put these aside. After she is finished trick-or-treating, we empty her bag and sort it. One pile is the candy she can eat. One pile is the candy which has questionable wrappers (torn, open, etc.) and is tossed. The last pile is the well wrapped, gluten-containing candy. I trade my daughter this candy one piece for one piece with any of the gluten-free candy I have purchased. (We live in a large neighborhood and my children typically collect quite a lot of candy!)

Some of my daughter's favorites gluten-free candies are:  Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, M&M's -- both regular and peanut, Snicker's, Starbursts, Hershey's chocolate bars (plain or almond), and Butterfinger. Her absolute favorite is Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and she is happy to have as many as these as she can!

The assorted candy we give to trick-or-treaters, while bought in large bags at Costco, tends to mostly be gluten-free as well. So we can use that for trades also, if there is any left, of course!

There is at least one list published each year of gluten-free Halloween candy. But, as usual, the best bet is always to read the ingredients as candy ingredients can change from year to year and new flavors and varieties are always added. Also, each family has to make their own decisions about candy that is processed in a facility that also processes wheat and whether that is safe for them.  

When you come up with a plan with your child to replace his or her gluten-containing candy, and then get your child really excited about the plan, a gluten-free Halloween can be very joyous for everyone!     


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