Going Gluten-FreeOctober 29, 2014

Things I Wish They Gave Out Trick-or-Treating

Comments (3)

Posted by Erica Dermer

As a former chubby, sugar-obsessed youth, Halloween was my absolute favorite. Not only could you dress up as something fun and creative, but also by the end of the night you came home with sacks of chocolate and candy. I spent hours meticulously sorting through all of my winnings – organizing based on type and brand, just knowing they would satiate some craving during the days after October 31st.

However, as an adult with celiac disease and other food sensitivities, I don’t envy those children running around with sacks of candy anymore.

kid trick or treating


As a celiac (much like someone with food allergies would do), I have to pour over every label, studying the manufacturing processes of the item over and over again to assure its safety. So this Halloween, I need to be thankful that I won’t have to deal with a sack full of unknowns. I would worry that the smaller items (like fun size candy bars) wouldn’t have the full nutritional, ingredient list, or allergen panel on them, so I’d probably have to look up every single one online. Unlabeled candy? Forget about it. That would be too much of a risk. I’m sure at least 3/4 of the bag would be utterly untouchable – given to the neighbors or put out at the office candy dish.

Luckily, things do seem to be shifting towards our favor. With so many children with food allergies, food sensitivities, and/or celiac/NCGS, people are opting to give out non-food treats so everyone can have fun this Halloween. FARE’s Teal Pumpkin Project is just one example of the changing landscape of Halloween for those with food allergies.

However, as an adult, I’m still envious that there’s a holiday that people receive free things from neighbors just for dressing up (the most fun part of Halloween). Here are some things I wish were given out as “treats” this Halloween, so we didn’t have to deal with so many tricks in our Halloween bags after October 31st!

1. Organic and Allergen-Friendly Treats

Browsing the aisles at Whole Foods or my natural grocer this time of year gives me hope that there can be candy made by people who care about ingredients. These fully labeled allergen-friendly treats are great for Halloween…and every other month after that.

- Yummy Earth Organics/Naturals Sour Beans, Organic Lollipops, and Gummy Bears – individually wrapped for Halloween
- Justin’s Dark Chocolate Cups – individually wrapped for Halloween
- Surf Sweets – individually wrapped for Halloween
- Enjoy Life Foods crunchy cookies – individually packaged

2. Floss and/or a Toothbrush

I know, as a child I hated the houses that gave me free oral hygiene items. “But tonight’s about candy,” I would protest. However, my cavities as a child told me that I should have probably been more thankful for those houses (probably occupied by dentists). Good oral hygiene is something that should be practiced regularly – especially if you have to deal with the ramifications of celiac disease (enamel loss, etc.). We should probably advocate for more of these types of “treats” instead.

3. Gluten-Free Food Coupons

There is nothing more exciting than finding a gluten-free or food-allergy-friendly coupon in the newspaper or online. I’m sure you’re like me – hoarding these precious coupons like they were a treasure themselves. Even though the true value of a coupon is only 1/100th of a cent, saving $1.00 off of my Daiya dairy-free cheese or Udi’s bread or Enjoy Life Foods cookies far surpasses the face value.

What are you passing out this Halloween? Also, what do you wish came home in your child’s (okay, or your own) trick-or-treat bag?

Comments (3)

We hand out some of the GF and allergy free treats you mentioned above! They are just as delicious!! Thanks for the suggestion. I was a tooth fairy one year and gave out little dental kits to the kids and they LOVED them (I am not a dentist nor work in a dental office). I added stickers and other little toys (stamps, spiders, glow sticks). Parents appreciated it and the kids felt they scored with a small bag of goodies. Its a costume that was easy to pull together and I purchased bulk items through online shops and dollar stores. Being a tooth fairy was such a treat knowing I was handing out something fun for the kids without making them feel being "different" is a bad thing. Trick or treating should be fun for everyone, bottom line. There are plenty of homes and families that hand out other treats to balance it out.

Posted by: sdoldan | October 31, 2016 9:03 AM    Report this comment

I think it's good to mix it up! The kids LOVED the house that gave out water bottles. They were so thirsty that the idea of water was much more appealing than candy. I think the house that gave out water also gave out candy. But the water was really sold and offered as a special extra treat. I have to say that my son LOVED halloween for six years even though he could eat so little but last year he got really discouraged when everyone gave out chocolate he couldn't eat so he completely skipped it this year and went to a basketball game. I took my daughter trick or treating. But I think it's really sad that last year was such a bad experience.

Posted by: ourGFfamily2 | November 6, 2014 10:16 PM    Report this comment

Lisa Keeling If you give out coupons or toothbrushes you will not only seriously upset the children but reinforce the rule that we celiacs ruin everything. Celiacs aren't stupid. There are so many online lists of safe Halloween candy there is no reason to go to extremes. Our celiac girls always went trick or treating with friends. The evening always ended with a dump and trade session that was a big hit. The braces wearing children got rid of the food they couldn't eat, the peanut, soy, milk, gluten allergies received safe candy. Don't make your children feel different. Just add a new ending ritual to the evening.

Posted by: lisakeeling | October 30, 2014 8:00 AM    Report this comment

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