Halloween is a much-anticipated holiday for kids and the entire family. Pumpkins, costumes, decorations, cool fall weather and – of course, candy – all come to mind when we think of October.
For kids, treat-or-treating is truly a dream come true. But Halloween can feel stressful for parents, especially if your child or someone you know suffers from food allergies, intolerances or sensitivities.
But have no fear – managing nutritional needs doesn’t need to be creepy-scary. Here are three simple strategies to enjoy the trick-or-treating experience.
- Read all labels carefully. Often, Halloween-specific candy and treats can be manufactured at different facilities than the normal manufacturing facility, leaving room for cross-contamination risks. And surprisingly, different varieties and sizes of the same candy may have different ingredients, so it always pays to read all labels.
- If a candy doesn’t have a label or if you can’t find the ingredient list, throw it away. Better safe than sorry.
- There is no such thing as “allergy-free” candy or treats. Don’t fall in the trap. People can have an allergy to all different types of food.
If you are handing out treats and want to accommodate all trick-or treaters – or if you’re looking for allergy friendly ideas your child can enjoy, here’s a go-to list of allergy-friendly festive treats.
Halloween treats don’t have to be candy
As a registered dietitian, this is what I stock up on every Halloween. And let’s be honest – kids will get plenty of candy, regardless. We don’t need to be the ones piling on even more. Don’t be afraid of being “that parent” – kids love getting the toys. it’s a break from the same-old, same-old, and it’s guaranteed to be 100% food-allergen-free. Check out your Target or local dollar store for the best selection, with prices as low as 10 cents each.
Look for Halloween-themed …
- Plastic vampire teeth
- Glow sticks
- Glow bracelets and necklaces
- Slap bracelets
- Small bounce balls
- Halloween stampers
- Plastic or light up rings
- Mini coloring books
- Mini frisbees
- Plastic sunglasses
For more on non-candy handout ideas approved by kids and adults alike, be sure to tune into this episode of the FUELED Wellness and Nutrition podcast.
Allergen-friendly Halloween treats
If you feel like you must (or simply want) to go the candy route, here’s a round-up of allergen-friendly candy:
- Surf Sweets Gummy Bears, Jelly Beans, Delish Fish
- Trader Joe’s Sunflower Seed Butter Cups
- YumEarth Organic Lollipops, Chewys, Fruit Snacks, Giggles, Candy Corn, Licorice
- Enjoy Life Chocolate Minis
- Free2b Chocolate Sunbutter Cups, Dark Chocolate Mint Cups, Sun Cup Minis
- Glee Gum
- No Whey Foods Peanot Cups, Chocolate Lollipops, Halloween Chocolate Covered Pretzel
- Pascha Chocolate Bars
Halloween can be enjoyed by all safely. These helpful suggestions should ensure a fun evening filled with less worry. Happy treat-or-treating!
Want more great nutrition advice? Check out Ochsner Eat Fit.