Have a Happy Halloween…Even With Food Allergies

| October 31, 2012 | Comments (0)

Halloween is tricky for anyone with food allergies or sensitivities. There are both physical and emotional challenges for anyone who needs to carefully segregate their candy into safe and not safe piles.

Over the past few Halloweens, I have learned that there are very few rules of thumb about halloween candy. I used to think the non-chocolate candies were safe until I learned that while some are, others contain gluten. The need to avoid cornstarch ruled out marshmallows and the need to avoid high-fructose corn syrup creates new challenges. Chocolates contain not only dairy, but also, surprisingly, barley malt syrup, which contains gluten.

So here is what we do.

1) Figure out what candy is actually gluten-free / nut-free / dairy-free etc. I try to do this about a month before Halloween.  Always use a list dated for the current year as the manufacturers change factories and processes more often that you would think (pretzel M&Ms threw us for a loop this year).  Look for HOW they confirmed the safety as well.  If you have special concerns you can contact the candy companies yourself. You may also want to check their websites. We always look for a current list as the manufacturing processes change and there are line extensions which may contain gluten. I was amazed at how many chocolate bars contained eggs.

2) I buy an extra bag of my son’s favorite “safe” candy to trade for. When he is done trick or treating I trade him his favorite candy for the stuff he has collected.

3) I buy a few hypoallergenic treats (such as the Enjoy Life Choco-Boom bars) to round out the day. They are expensive but if your child truly cannot have any dairy or gluten and she has never tasted a crisp rice bar…it is worth it. Sunset Foods has them in the suburbs and health food stores have them in the city.

4) We have a Halloween limit and then after Halloween it is one piece per day. Yes, we have been known to still have Halloween candy in January.  It just needs to be gone by Easter.

5) Our school collects the surplus candy to give to the homeless. We donate anything he cannot eat and anything we want out of the house.

I hope these tips work for you and that you have a happy and safe Halloween!

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About cthallagan: You can find Christina at http://humbugstew.com/ View author profile.

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