This is the time of year for all things Halloweeny. You can practically feel the excitement in the air. But for those of us with children who have allergies and/or sensitivities, we’re likely feeling a bit of trepidation. We know our children are going to want to fully celebrate the holiday – just as their friends will be doing.
But how do we let them participate without possibly endangering their health? Well, first off – if you don’t want to forgo the tradition of trick or treating there are a few, safer ways to go about it.
For example: Don’t let your little ones nibble their treats before they get home and you can properly go through their goody bag. If they just can’t wait to have a piece of candy, especially when their friends are digging into their own bags, consider carrying some gluten-free candies in your pocket. Even if they’re old enough to understand their issue with wheat and gluten, they still might appreciate not feeling different from their friends. (And though I know we don’t like thinking about this, but you may want to consider carrying one of those Epipens.)
Then, when you do get home, make sure to read those labels carefully! Sometimes what had been safe is safe no longer. Ingredients may have changed, or the plant where they’re being processed can’t guarantee the treats are gluten free. Also, keep in mind that sometimes the smaller, snack size candy may be different than the standard or regular sized candy. Meaning: the safe gluten-free candy bar you normally enjoy, may not be so when it’s a different size or shape.
At the end of this article I have included an up-to-date list of gluten-free candy.
If you’re fortunate enough to live in a smaller neighborhood, or one where everyone knows each other, you might think about encouraging one another to include items that don’t involve food: such as stickers, pencils, balls, finger puppets, etc. Oriental Trading Company is an online company that offers a lot of different options (and special deals this time of year). There are SO many children with allergies now, you just might be surprised how happy they are to do this! http://www.orientaltrading.com/
Many homes are now choosing to identify themselves as allergy safe zones by placing a teal pumpkin outside their door!
Or you might want to consider having your own Halloween party.
This is the surest way to be able to control what your children may be eating. For some fun, gluten-free Halloween party foods see: Gluten-Free Halloween Party
And finally, if you do decide to take your children trick or treating – even though I know you’ve likely heard this before, remember they need to be seen to be safe. So don’t forget those flashlights, light sticks and/or reflective stickers on their costumes. =)
Let’s make it a safe and fun Halloween for everyone!
Here are the latest U.S. gluten-free candies as of October 2016 – by brand:
- Baby Ruth
- Butterfinger Bar (original flavor only, NOT Crisp, Giant Bar, Snakerz, Medallions, Jingles, Hearts or Pumpkins)
- Milk Chocolate
- Nips (including both regular and sugar-free)
- Oh Henry!
- Raisinets (including Cranberry and Dark Chocolate flavors)
- Wonka Pixy Stix
- Laffy Taffy (including Laffy Taffy Rope)
- Wonka Lik-M-Aid Fun Dip
- M&M’s (all EXCEPT for pretzel-flavored M&M’s) Note: Some season flavors have a risk of gluten cross-contamination. Always check the label!
- 3 Musketeers Bars (all flavors)
- Milky Way Midnight Bar
- Milky Way Caramel Bar
- Dove Chocolate products (all flavors EXCEPT for milk chocolate cinnamon graham/cookies and cream)
- Snickers Bars (all flavors)
- Munch Nut Bar (the customer service representative urges consumers to check the labels on this one)
Tootsie Roll -
- Tootsie Rolls
- Fruit Rolls
- Tropical Dots
- Cella’s Milk Chocolate Covered Cherries
- Cella’s Dark Chocolate Covered Cherries
- Junior Mints
- Charleston Chew
- Junior Caramels
- Tootsie Pops
- Tootsie Peppermint Pops
- Caramel Apple Pops
- Fruit Smoothie Pops
- Tropical Stormz Pops
- Child’s Play
- Charms Blow Pops
- Charms Super Blow Pops
- Charms Pops
- Zip-A-Dee-Mini Pops
- Fluffy Stuff Cotton Candy
- Sugar Daddy Pops
- Sugar Mama Caramels
- Charms Squares
- Charms Sour Balls
- Charms Candy Carnival
- Pops Galore
- Sugar Babies
- Almond Joy (all – EXCEPT for Almond Joy Pieces)
- Mounds (all)
- Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Kisses (NOT the Special Dark Candy bar)
- Hershey’s Filled Chocolate Kisses (Milk chocolate, Caramel, Cherry cordial creme, Vanilla, Mint Truffle, Pumpkin Spice, Carrot cake, Meltaway Milk chocolates, Special Dark Mildly Sweet chocolate)
- Hershey’s Nuggets (Milk chocolate, Milk chocolate w/almonds, Special dark chocolate w/almonds, Extra creamy milk chocolate w/toffee and almonds)
- Hershey’s Hugs
- Hershey’s Air Delight
- Hershey’s Milk Duds
- Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar, only in the 1.55 oz. size
- Hershey’s Milk Chocolate with Almonds Bar, only in the 1.45 oz. size
- Heath Bars (all)
- Payday (all)
- Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (all except for seasonal shaped items)
- Reese’s Pieces (all EXCEPT for Reese’s Pieces Eggs)
- Rolo Caramels in Milk Chocolate (EXCEPT for Minis)
- Skor Toffee Bar
- York Peppermint Pattie (EXCEPT York Pieces, York Minis and York shapes))
- Generally with Hershey’s, you need to avoid seasonal items such as Cadbury Creme Eggs and Reese’s pumpkin-shaped candies — even if their ingredients are free of gluten, they likely are manufactured on shared lines or in a shared facility.
Jelly Belly makes jelly beans in an ever-expanding array of colors and flavors. According to the company, “all Jelly Belly beans are gluten-free, dairy-free, gelatin-free, vegetarian and Kosher.” This includes licorice-flavored gluten-free Jelly Belly jelly beans (in most cases, licorice candy contains wheat). Jelly Belly also makes gluten-free candy corn for Halloween.
However, Chocolate Malt Balls, Chocolate Bridge Mix, Black Licorice Buttons, and Licorice Pastels are NOT gluten free.
- Necco Wafers
- Necco Chocolate Wafers
- Candy House Candy Buttons
- Canada Mint, Wintergreen and Spearmint Lozenges
- Mary Jane
- Mary Jane Peanutbutter Kisses (available for Halloween only)
- Banana Splits Chews
- Mint Julep Chews
- Haviland Thin Mints, Wintergreen Patty, Nonpareils and Chocolate Stars
- Sweethearts Conversation Hearts (available for Valentine’s Day only)
- Mike and Ike Berry Blast
- Mike and Ike Italian Ice
- Mike and Ike Jolly Joes
- Mike and Ike Lemonade Blends
- Mike and Ike Original Fruits
- Mike and Ike Redrageous
- Mike and Ike Tangy Twister
- Mike and Ike Tropical Typhoon
- Mike and Ike Zours
- Mike and Ike Jelly Beans
- Mike and Ike Hot Tamales
- Goldenberg’s Vintage Peanut Chews
Tic Tac Mints-
Tic Tac mints are produced by the Italian confection manufacturer Ferrero, and have been sold for more than 40 years. According to the company, Tic Tac mints do not contain any ingredients derived from the gluten grains wheat, barley, rye, oats or triticale.
Sweet’s Candy Co.
Sweet’s Candy makes salt water taffy, chocolate jelly sticks, jelly beans, gummy bears and other candies. All are certified gluten-free by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization, which requires products to contain less than 10 parts per million of gluten. A customer service representative tells me that Sweet’s makes only gluten-free products, but does package other products (some of which may contain gluten) in the same facility.
Finally - please remember to use these lists only as a guide, since ingredients and formulas can change at any time. In some cases, a product made at one location may be listed as gluten-free, while the same product made at a different location may not be gluten-free. Also, candy listed as gluten-free on the U.S. list may not be gluten-free in other countries. Always check the packaging and ingredients before consuming any candy, even if it does appear on this list.
The information given comes from a wonderful site. They have a more complete list that includes non-gluten free Halloween candy as well as the gluten-free candies listed above. http://celiacdisease.about.com/od/glutenfreefoodshopping/a/GFcandies.htm