Halloween Can Still Be Safe and Fun (Safe Snacks and More Advice for Around the Halloween Season)


If you have food allergies, sometimes the scariest thing about Halloween is the candy. It really doesn't have to be! I have an anaphylactic egg allergy (and peanuts) and still enjoy Halloween just as much as every kid, except I don't eat all the candy. If you put it in perspective candy doesn't have to be a big part of Halloween. You can still dress up and have fun hanging out wit friends! As you get older candy becomes  less and less important anyway. I mean you don't see adults trick-or-treating for candy, do you? And your body and teeth will thank you for eating less sugar.

Here are some safe allergy friendly Halloween candy brands. Some of them, you can even enjoy as  snacks or special treats outside of Halloween. I have spent a LOT of time after trick-or-treating researching candies that are safe to eat and which ones aren't. I wanted to create this post to save you the hassle of having to research all of the candy/snacks that are safe to eat on Halloween (but of course, it is always good to double check yourself).

1. Enjoy Life
Enjoy life is an allergy free line that doesn't manufacture ANY snacks that contain wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, casein, soy, egg, sesame, sulfites, lupin, mustard, fish, shellfish, and crustaceans, in any of their snacks. Not only do they provide cute, mini Halloween treats (and holiday treats for Holiday Season), but they also make delicious everyday snacks. They also have a trial pack that includes 10 of their top snacks. Check out their website at: https://enjoylifefoods.com/



2. Free2b
Free2b is also a allergy friendly line that doesn't manufacture ANY snacks that contain peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, gluten, soy, egg, corn, coconut, sesame, mustard, fish, and shellfish. They also have a trial pack that includes 3 of their most popular snacks. Check out their website at: https://free2bfoods.com/

3. Smarties
Smarties is yet another line entirely free of milk, egg, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soy. Smarties are also a fun and small treat for class, out on the playground, and when your lazing about at home. They have just enough sweetness to cure you of a sweet tooth. Check out their website at: https://www.smarties.com/

4. Jelly Bellies
Jelly Bellies are a safe bet during the Halloween season. They're allergen free and fun to pick through and taste all of the different flavors and colors as you eat. They do have artificial food coloring. Check out their website at: https://www.jellybelly.com/

5. Starbursts
Starbursts are free from the top 8 allergens. I've been eating them just fine with an anaphylactic egg and nut allergy without a problem. They serve as a small and yummy snack.They definitely live up to their name with their bursting flavor:) They do have artificial food coloring.

6. Swedish Fish
Swedish fish are another sticky and sweet snack that many people enjoy snacking on. But even better, these are free of wheat/gluten, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, milk and soy. ( Important to note that they also have artificial food coloring.

7. Red Vines
Red vines are not only meant for Halloween, but can be a tasty snack in class or after school. (Have artificial food coloring)

8. YumEarth
YumEarth strives to avoid the top allergens in our ingredients and provide a safer, allergen free candy option, because after all, everyone should get to enjoy candy. They are all vegan and avoid eggs, gluten, wheat, peanuts, and tree nuts. YumEarth is a last minute snack that simple and easy to find in most grocery stores. YumEarth is definitely one of our "go tos." And no artificial food coloring in these! Yay!

9. Dum Dum
Dum Dum is one brand that you don't need to question! I LOVE Dum Dums and they're probably my favorite Halloween treat. Dum Dums also don't have a lot of sugar just enough to satisfy that lingering sweet tooth. All Dum Dums products packaged by Spangler Candy Company DO NOT contain peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, wheat, or gluten. They are manufactured on dedicated equipment. They do have artificial food coloring, but it's worth the splurge sometimes. Check out their website at: https://www.dumdumpops.com/about-us/allergen-info

10. Safe Sweets - Allergen safe chocolates (one of my personal favorites)
Safe Sweets is a chocolate brand that is dedicated to allergens. The have no peanuts, no tree nuts, no dairy, no eggs, no gluten, no sesame, no mustard, no corn syrup, and no gelatin. All products are handmade and packaged in their dedicated nut free and dairy free facility. Just this Halloween when we did our candy trade center (explained below) my mom bought my sister and I Safe Sweet Chocolate Covered Pretzels and the Safe Sweet Chocolate Marshmallow Mini's. Both were delicious and gone in two days:) The pretzels are addictive so prepare to eat the entire bag. They are quite pricey, but what allergen safe food isn't? And they are worth the splurge on special occasions like holidays and Halloween :)

For more info on what candies might be safe for your child, though always double check yourself, this might be another great resource:  2017 Top 8 Allergy-Friendly Halloween Candy Guide

https://community.kidswithfoodallergies.org/blog/2017-allergy-friendly-halloween-candy-guide-top-8-free

Some Quick Tips to Make Halloween a WHOLE lot easier! 

 Tip 1.
I wanted to share with all the parents out there that have small kids, a fun activity that my parents did for me when I was younger. When I came home from trick-or-treating and had a pile of candy I couldn't eat, my parents would do something called a "switch witch." With my mom, we would quickly create 3 piles of candy (candy I knew I couldn't eat, candy I maybe could eat, and candy I knew was safe). I would keep some of the candy I could safely eat and put the rest in a bag just outside my bedroom door. After your child is asleep you switch the bag of candy for a prize or toy they've been wanting in its place. This way your kids don't look at trick or treating as 'there's no point to it anyway,' and know that after they've collected all of their candy they can exchange it for something even better and more fun to play with! (and doesn't rot their teeth)


For older kids that have outgrown the "switch witch" you can set up a "candy trade." Before we went trick-or-treating my mom would set up a "candy trading center" or 'store' for us to spend our candy at. My mom would buy the coolest stuff, from pens and pencils, to small trinkets I had my eye on, stickers for my water bottle, cool planner, pencil pouch, and even small stuffed animals for my younger sister. She would label different items with different "prices" of candy. For instance, 5 pieces of candy could be a cool set of gel pens, or maybe for 10 pieces of candy you could get the stuffed animal you've been wanting all year. They'll think of trick-or-treating as a fun scavenger hunt to collect as many pieces of candy as possible without actually eating it. Even if your kids don't have food allergies, you can avoid a ton of sugar and simply set up a "candy trade" in your very own living room. My younger sister loves this part of Halloween and she can't wait to get home from trick or treating. She can eat the candy, but she doesn't want to, so kudos to my mom. Aside from a few dum dums that I am partial to :) I have no problem surrendering the rest of my candy and really don't think twice about it. I don't miss it.

I have a friend who trades her candy in for money. That is another option for older kids and teenagers. Maybe they are trying to save up for something they have wanted.
   
Tip 2.
If you have small children that have food allergies you can always put a teal pumpkin in front of your house. The Teal Pumpkin Project, started by Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) aims to provide greater awareness of allergen-free or non food items for sensitive children on Halloween. You can paint over an orange pumpkin or basket. If you're running low on teal paint both CVS and your local department store carry teal pumpkins.  This way when you walk up to people's doors they recognize that you have a food allergy. I've found this on many different websites and although I there is a great idea behind this, I personally have mixed feelings. Here are a couple reasons to keep in mind when using this method:


1. It gives kids a false sense of security. When little kids are out carrying teal pumpkin basket, they automatically think 'I have a teal pumpkin that means that any treats that people put into my basket is safe.' That's not true! Many people don't even know what a teal pumpkin is. This means when people put candy in your basket they have no IDEA you have food allergies and it's dark out so a piece of candy with the offending allergen can end up in your basket.

2. When you reach my age (11 years old) or even 9/10 years old you don't want to carry around a teal pumpkin. You have enough attention drawn to you outside of Halloween and don't need one more thing that makes you stand out.

Tip 3. 
Always remember that 5 minutes of lingering deliciousness in your mouth from a piece of candy is NEVER worth the risk of getting sick and having a reaction. You can set your kids up for success by teaching them when they are young that candy isn't everything and actually isn't good for their body and teeth anyway. Halloween doesn't have to be ALL about eating the candy. They can still dress up, hang out with friends, walk the neighborhood and see all the crazy costumes and decorations out there and then trade their candy in at the end of the night.

Then as they get older and are hanging out with friends, you as a parent don't have to worry about your teenager getting caught up in the moment with friends and accidentally eating a piece of candy containing an offending allergen.
   
Tip 4:  
 Keep it real with your kids. Don't worry about what everyone else is doing. It doesn't mean it is the 'right' way. My parents have always done a great job of keeping it real and have educated me and my younger sister that sugar isn't all that great for our bodies anyways and whatever you grow up with is your sense of normal. So for me eating piles of candy and sugar on Halloween doesn't even sound like fun. My sister can eat whatever candy, but she doesn't even really care about the candy (just the dum dums) because of the way we were brought up. She is the first to dump out her pumpkin and count how much she has to trade in at my mom's homemade 'store' :) She doesn't feel she is missing out one bit. She has as much fun, maybe even more and is probably a lot healthier because of it. 

More great resources and perspectives for making Halloween safe and Fun!  
https://www.jaxallergy.com/top-tips-allergy-safety-halloween/
https://www.thereisgrace.com/halloween-with-food-allergies/

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