Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Trick or Treat!

The holidays can sometimes present unique challenges for GFCF Mommies and Daddies and first up in the holiday line-up is Halloween!

Halloween doesn’t have to be horribly frightening, however, at least in terms of treats. I’d like to refer you to an excellent article online at the Feingold Association’s website called: "How to Avoid the Halloween Hangover: Your Little Superheroes Can Have Fun Without Becoming Monsters the Next Day” by Jane Hersey.

Her article is not about the GFCF diet, but about the Feingold diet, so her suggestions for natural candy may or may not exactly apply to GFCF’ers. However, she has some great ideas for what to do with the unacceptable loot your little ones pick up, such as swapping out safe candy at home and “buying” the forbidden candy back from them (hey, money talks!). And her practical good nutrition tips for Halloween are quite wise. (Note: You cannot read the link list of Feingold approved candy unless you are a member, but you can read the article.)

And what to do with the candy your family cannot eat? Somewhere I read what I thought was a terrific idea: send it to the troops in Iraq. I think many of us, myself included, know someone there. Pack up the goodies, maybe with some magazines and masterpieces drawn by your little Princes and Princesses. Sure to put a smile on the face of someone who needs it. You can also donate to the local children’s charity or advocacy organization of your choice.

What are some acceptable treats to have on hand for your little ghosts and gremlins? I have a few suggestions. One of them is to not give out candy at all for Halloween. This year the Prince and I had a fun time “shopping” in the Oriental Trading Company catalog for really inexpensive little trinkets sold in bulk. For less than $20 you can treat your whole neighborhood in totally tacky but very fun-filled style!

If you have the time, you can buy some small Halloween treat bags and fill them with your own mix of popcorn, or trail mix, whatever you like to make for snacks at home.

If you want to do the “traditional” candy route, here are some brands and companies you can check out:

Glutenfreeda has a list of candy that is gluten-free, though not necessarily casein or dye free. In years past, we have used Skittles, Jelly-belly beans, fruit leather, and Halloween Peeps shaped like ghosts (these have dyes, however.)

College Farm Organic Naturepops can be found at many healthfood stores and online. They are organic, GFCF, and dye free and they have a ghoulish orange and black lollipop Halloween promotion available now. My son really likes this brand.

Chocolate Emporium: Don’t let the name fool you, they have an entire selection of GFCF candies not made of chocolate and you can search the site based on any particular allergy. They also have some really cute candies shaped like Lego blocks as well as candy-coated nuts, raisins, and lentils that are kind of like m & m’s. I haven’t tried the lentils myself, but they seem like an interesting idea. (If anyone tries them, let me know!) Many of these products are not dye-free however, if that is a concern, though some are. This company does a good job of listing ingredients.

Miss Robens Allergy-Free Grocer also has an allergy-based search engine and lots of GFCF Halloween options. You can get the College Farm Naturepops there too.

Have fun trick-or-treating!


Thomas Dzomba said...


We have been sending packages over to the troops for a few months now, and it is a worthwhile thing to do. We work through an outfit called Soldiers Angels (www.soldiersangels.org). My tip for doing this is to send things in a flat rate Priority Mail box - all you can fit for $8.95 shipping (believe me, it's worth it). Also remember that you need to fill out customs forms for sending to soldiers overseas.

We have always separated out the candy when we get home, and we always have bags of candy they can have on hand to use as "replacements." Their favorites are Skittles, Starburst, and Smarties. We put it in a big bowl out of reach and only give them some when they have done something helpful or good. Usually, our Halloween candy lasts until the next Easter.


childlife said...

Katherine - Thank you SOOO much for posting this! I have been looking for a listing of gluten-free candy since this is the first Halloween my little girl will be interested in eating. You just saved me a ton of internet research : )

P.S. My pumpkin pie with silk brand soy creamer turned out really well! Come see my Tuesday October 16th post : )

Elissa said...

Thanks Katherine,

This post is fabulous!

We don't really celebrate Halloween here in Australia but the list of companies that make 'safe' candy (or lollies as we call them) is just what I have been looking for!

Oh, and I love the photo.

Elissa. xx

GFCF Mommy said...

Thomas, thanks for the Soldiers Angels website. It is such a meaningful thing to do, I think. We had learned about the priority mail box trick too. It is worth it.

Childlife and Elissa, I am so glad you found this helpful! I'm sorry it took me so long to get it up, I know mail order takes time and Halloween is getting close!