I remember “Trick or Treating” as a child.  We ran house to house visiting neighbors who filled our pillowcases with Halloween treats.  When our pillowcases were too heavy to carry, we knew it was time to head back home and assess our loot.  Truth be told, I usually snuck a candy bar (or several) along the way.  

Since my daughter Emma’s diagnosis with Celiac Disease this year, we’ve worked to keep special events and holidays as “normal” as possible.  A little pre-All Hollows’ Eve planning and communication with your child is all you need!

I Want Candy!

Who doesn’t want candy?  If I could eat candy for breakfast, lunch, and dinner – I certainly would!  Halloween is a free for all of sugary goodness; some safe, some off-limits.  Most importantly, you need to sit down with your child a few days before Halloween to talk about your Halloween game plan:

  • Arm yourself with a 2012 Gluten-Free Halloween Candy list.  This can be found online as is an immense resource.
  • Reinforce the fact that absolutely no candy can be eaten until an adults checks the ingredients to make sure they are safe.  This means no sneaking treats like I did in the “old days”.
  • Talk with your child about how they will get some unsafe treats while Trick or Treating.
  • Get your kids involved in baking Halloween treats – do they want cupcakes with icing spiderwebs or spooky brownies for their class party?

Trick or Trade:  Out with the Gluten – In with the Fun!

It’s inevitable that your child is going to get treats that are not gluten-free in their bag and you’ll need to remove them.   One way to help kids from feeling upset or deprived is what we like to call “Trick or Trade”.   Prior to Halloween night, buy a bag of gluten-free candy that your child likes.  Keep it on hand to trade out the gluten-filled candy.  Another option that your dentist will surely love is to have inexpensive items to trade (think of things that you would put into a birthday “goodie bag”).

Halloween Class Parties – Gluten-Free Style

Schools LOVE to have Halloween parties – especially in elementary and middle school.  Baking up some ghoulishly delicious treats for the entire class is oh-so-easy!  GlutenFreely’s Recipe Section is full of  fun Halloween-themed treats including Creepy Mini Eyeballs cupcakes,  Halloween Buddies aka Halloween Chex mix,  Marshmallow Mummies  made from Fruit Roll-ups and marshmallows.  Other kid-approved options are Meringue GhostsPeanut Butter Pumpkins (adorable pumpkin shaped candies made using peanut butter chips, pretzel twists and vanilla frosting),  Scary Spiderweb  Cupcakes or Spooky Brownies!  Check out the Gluten & Allergen-Free Expo’s Halloween Pinterest page for more ideas – totally inspiring!

One word of advice, be sure to check with the teachers and room parents on the party activities and if the day will contain any gluten-filled games.  One popular class activity is a “No Hands Donut Eating Contest”.  Picture glutinous donuts tied to strings and the student attempting to eat said donuts with their arms behind their backs.  Yes, gluten will be flying everywhere….  So stay in touch with the school so that you (or your child) don’t encounter a unpleasant party surprise.

Halloween is a fun, creative, and tasty time of the year!  Equipped with these gluten-free tips, you can make this Halloween memorable!

Happy Gluten-Free Halloween from my family to yours!

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