The Celiac Mom’s Guide to A Happy, Safe, & Gluten Free Halloween

As the Cherry Pie Bites are baking in the oven, the celery, onions and apples await chopping for the Sausage and Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash for tonight’s dinner, and the leaves swirl past my window, I really feel like Fall is in full swing. This season brings along with it so many fun and delicious things…farm markets, hayrides, hot apple cider, pumpkin picking and, drumroll please…Halloween!

For kids, Halloween is the pinnacle of Fall. The costume planning, the decorations, carving pumpkins—it’s a kid-centered holiday. But it’s also a holiday centered around eating candy. Lots of candy. Being a kid with celiac at Halloween can be difficult, but I have a few simple suggestions for you to make it easier on your gluten free kid.

Every year, many celiac-focused websites publish a list of gluten free candy that is safe for your child to eat. You can find a link to the list I consult here. The list is updated every year. Use this list to choose safe candy to hand out at your house (remember, there are always leftovers!) and as a reference when sorting through your child’s loot after trick-or-treating is done.

Once you have sorted all the gluten containing candy from the safe candy in your child’s bag, your child may not be left with much. Never fear, because you will be prepared! Before Halloween comes, order some favorite gluten free treats online (Gimbal’s candy is one of our favorites) or shop for some safe gluten free candy that your child loves. Then have a trading session and let them trade in their unsafe candy for some of their favorites. Keep this stash a secret though, because half the fun of Halloween is being surprised by what you get.

Another idea, besides handing out candy that is safe for your child, is to hand out non-food items. In 2014, Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) launched a national campaign called the Teal Pumpkin Project. It was intended to promote inclusion of all trick-or-treaters and to raise awareness of food allergies. To participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project, simply provide non-food treats for trick-or-treaters (such as pencils, crayons, or bubbles), paint a pumpkin teal to place in front of your home, along with a free printable sign from FARE, to indicate you have non-food treats available. To learn more about the Teal Pumpkin Project and to print out a sign, click here.

I hope you and your children have a fun, safe and yummy gluten free Halloween!
The Celiac Mom is CEO of Diehl Enterprises. Her duties include executive chef, pastry chef, taxi driver, housekeeper, kisser of boo boos, popsicle distributor, counselor, and champion Uno player. She is also the Content Coordinator and writer for Allens Creek Living Magazine. She lives in Pittsford, NY with her husband and three children.

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