Survival tricks & delicious treats for gluten-free Halloween fun
[Updated August 3, 2017]
Halloween is one of my favorite times of year. My kids love choosing costumes, making crafts and enjoying all kinds of yummy treats. The fact that they can’t eat gluten and dairy doesn’t make Halloween a bit scary. They not only survive their gluten-free Halloween – they thrive!
Based on the ages and dietary needs of your little goblins, you can plan activities for a gluten free Halloween that are safe and lots of fun. We do a different variation on these four basic ideas each year.
1. The Teal Pumpkin Project
This concept, promoted by FARE, made headway last year. To participate, paint a pumpkin teal and put it by your front door as a sign that you offer non-food treats for trick or treat. Instead of candy, give out stickers, temporary tattoos, bracelets, spider rings or spooky erasers. This is a wonderful way to show support for children who have severe food allergies. My kids have a blast with these little surprises. Get more information on participating here.
2. Real-Food Halloween Treats
Grocery stores are getting smarter every year about offering better candy choices for trick or treating. Companies like YumEarth and Go Organic Candies make lollipops and hard candy without high fructose corn syrup or artificial colors and flavors. Stores like Trader Joe’s offer safer candy, such as individually wrapped honey mints made with only honey, chocolate liquor and oil of peppermint. My personal Halloween favorites are fair trade mini dark chocolate bars from Equal Exchange and Endangered Species; they’re gluten-free, dairy-free and non-GMO.
3. Candy Swap
Make a game out of exchanging candy for money or prizes. We started candy swapping when the kids were very little and they still love doing this. Decide whether your children would prefer money (we give them 10 cents per piece of candy) or a prize (we often do craft store gift certificates). The week before Halloween, we build excitement by telling our kids what we’re going to give them. We talk about what they might buy with their money or gift certificates. Then we make a big deal about our day-after-Halloween shopping trip.
4. Food Allergy Halloween Party
Throw an allergy-friendly Halloween party. Keep it low-stress by planning ahead and offer simple, fun activities based on your child’s age. Here are some party projects:
Have the kids trace a leaf pattern onto fall-colored construction paper. Cut out the shapes and use string to hang the leaves from a fallen branch at varying lengths to create leaf mobiles.
Ask the children to bring a leaf from their yard to the party. They can make rubbings of all the different leaves, using white paper and red, orange and yellow crayons.
Decorate a pumpkin. Provide each guest with a mini pumpkin or gourd. Give them craft paints, brushes and glitter to create their own unique painted pumpkins.
Have a pumpkin hunt. Hide miniature pumpkins around your house or yard and let the children collect them in their Halloween buckets. The child who finds the most wins a prize.
Decorate cupcakes. Give each child a plain gluten-free cupcake and let them frost and sprinkle the tops to make their own personal cupcakes.
Treats are a big part of Halloween. The recipes on the below contain real-food ingredients and are low in sugar, perfect for kids of all ages.
MAKES 17 CUPCAKES.
These gluten-free cupcakes contain a dose of good-for-you ingredients. Enjoy them frosted as a Halloween treat or skip the frosting and eat them as breakfast muffins. The eggs cannot be replaced in this recipe.
Each cupcake with frosting contains 290 calories, 20g total fat, 11g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 62mg cholesterol, 167mg sodium, 28g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 17g sugars, 4g protein, 12 Est GL.
MAKES 4 APPLES.
Making caramel sauce without dairy or corn syrup is a snap. This simple gluten free, dairy free caramel sauce contains only three ingredients.
Each apple contains 692 calories, 33g total fat, 7g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 178mg sodium, 96g carbohydrate, 5g fiber, 73g sugars, 6g protein, 46 Est GL.
MAKES 8 CUPS.
These delicious mock peanut butter cups are full of flavor but free of gluten, dairy, eggs, peanuts and nuts.
Each serving contains 239 calories, 19g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 13mg sodium, 13g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 2g sugars, 5g protein, 5 Est GL.
MAKES 9 CHERRY CORDIALS.
Finding dairy-free cherry cordials in the store is almost impossible so this recipe comes to the rescue. Maraschino cherries made without corn syrup, artificial flavors and colors are available from Tillen Farms and Trader Joe’s.
Each cordial contains 165 calories, 7g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 0mg sodium, 27g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 21g sugars, 1g protein, 15 Est GL.
Recipes reprinted with permission from The Paleo Chocolate Lovers’ Cookbook (Victory Belt Publishing), by Kelly Brozyna.
Kelly Brozyna is author of four gluten-free, dairy-free, refined-sugar-free cookbooks. She showcases healthy gluten-free recipes and nutrition tips on her blog, TheSpunkyCoconut.com.