By Kristen Chandler
As a child, I can’t say I loved Halloween. I’ve never been a fan of dressing up, or masks. I did like the candy of course, but I didn’t care for the stomachache that followed when I ate too much, even though my mom had warned me not to overdo it … or that I would regret it if I did.
As a mom now myself, I’m still not crazy about Halloween, and as a food allergy mom, I’m even less excited about it. Just going somewhere where food will be served on a regular day is stressful enough, let alone any holiday where food is a big focus. And a holiday where you go door to door and get massive amounts of candy from unknown sources really tops the stress charts. Aside from trick-or-treating, depending on the age of your child, they might also have a Halloween party at school. You might have church and neighborhood parties, too.
The point is, there will be food and candy everywhere on Halloween. I talk to my children’s teachers (or the room mother, if they have one) and get an idea of what will be served at the party, so we can plan accordingly. It varies year by year. There have been Halloween parties where they planned a mostly allergen-free menu. Then there have been parties where they had unsafe food but made sure my child had plenty he could eat. And there have been the parties where I’ve had to supply everything for him myself. As far as trick-or-treating goes, we live in an area where the Teal Pumpkin Project idea is fairly new, so I only take my kids to a few houses of people we know, and then we go to the local school and church activities. We still get unsafe candy, but my children know not to touch the candy until Mom has checked it.
Here, I’ll give you a few suggestions for allergy free candy and some non-candy ideas for Halloween, too. If you know someone who will have a teal pumpkin, or if your child(ren) will be attending any parties, you can use this list as a guide.
Candy (and Snacks)
- Mike and Ike: Most Mike and Ike candies, including the holiday special editions, are “Top 8” free as well as gluten free. Mike and Ike candies can be found at most retail and some grocery stores.
- Peeps: Unless they’re dipped in chocolate, Peeps are allergen free. However, check the labels because some have the “may contain milk” warning. You can visit the Peeps website at the link above and read through their FAQs for more allergen info. (The same company that manufactures Peeps also manufactures Mike and Ike).
- Gimbal’s candies: Gimbal’s is most famous for their gourmet jelly beans, but they make other candies, too. Gimbal’s candies are free from peanuts, tree nuts, soy, dairy, egg and gluten. Click on the link above to visit the Gimbal’s site for more information.
- Enjoy Life: Enjoy Life is one of my favorite allergy-free brands! I use their products all the time. Their products are Top 8- and gluten free, as well as non-GMO. They make chocolate bars, chocolate chips (also in cute little snack packs) and a variety of allergy-free snacks. You can visit their website to find out where to buy Enjoy Life products if a store near you doesn’t offer them.
- Smarties: Smarties are Top 8 and gluten free. Most retail and grocery stores carry Smarties.
- SkinnyPop: Skinny Pop makes popcorn that is free from gluten, dairy, peanut, tree nut, soy, wheat and eggs. They are also free from preservatives and are non-GMO. As long as you don’t have a corn allergy, these are a great snack idea and popcorn alternative. Check out their website for purchase information.
- Other options: Skittles, Starburst, LifeSavers and DumDums.
**Remember to ALWAYS check the labels. Product ingredients and manufacturing processing techniques change all the time.
- Glow sticks
- Note pads
- Pencils and/or pencil grips, toppers and erasers
- Small stuffed animals or other small toys
- Tattoos (Because of skin allergies, these are kind of iffy. My children can wear them but only on their hands or arms, because their faces usually get irritated.)
Again, be sure to check the labels on these items, especially if non-food allergies are present. Allergens can sneak in pretty much anywhere.
We hope that we’ve given you some good ideas for safe Halloween treats. Feel free to share this with others. Of course, these are just a few suggestions. If you have any ideas, suggestions, or feedback, please feel free to comment below!