Halloween treats don’t have to be candy! When I was growing up, favorite Halloween treats included caramel apples, candy apples, and popcorn balls. While these are sweet treats, they’re not candy. As we grew to be wary of our neighbors, homemade Halloween treats gave way to packaged candy that could be examined for tampering. Gradually, the packaging shifted from bulk packed candy corn to small individual packages.
The nutrition information labels for individually packaged Halloween candy is most often contained on the outer bag, not the individual packages. For the gluten-free or allergic trick-or-treater, this means extra research. A few years ago, a quick trip to the website of Nestle or Mars would generate easily accessible ingredient information. Now, you’ll find the following generic statement on the Nestlé site:
“To help you make informed choices, major allergens including ingredients containing gluten are labeled on foods even when present in small quantities.
In case of gluten intolerance, before buying a food product, check systematically the ingredients list.”
Mars provides a PDF of its Policy on Allergen Labeling: http://www.mms.com/us/legal/allergen.html.
These labeling policies make sense, but they also make it more difficult to determine what to let your child eat the minute he comes home with a pail full of individually packaged M&M®s, Nerds®, SweetTARTS®, BUTTERFINGER®, or CRUNCH® bars.
Why not help your gluten-free neighbors and friends enjoy the holiday by providing non-candy treats?
I may have mentioned before that some of the most popular Halloween treats I’ve provided haven’t been candy. One year the favorites were pennies and Michael Jackson spiral memo pads. The same kids came back with their friends two and three times that year. The past few years, I’ve mixed packages of KOOL-AID in with candy. Invariably, the KOOL-AID has inspired the most excitement. Non-candy treats stand out as novel and some provide the added benefit of reducing sugar consumption.
5 More Non-Candy Treat Ideas
Halloween Tattoos – My kids always wanted temporary tattoos whether we were at a ballgame, festival, or school event. I’ve also seen popular temporary tattoos at college and senior citizen events. On Halloween, spiders, pumpkins, and witches come in glow-in-the-dark making them even more fun. There’s still time to order from Oriental Trading, Amazon, or Tattoo fun. You can also find tattoos in sheets of 12 at Wal-Mart or Michaels. Get your kids to cut them into singles. It’s a great way for them to help!
Even better, order Edgar Allen Poe tattoos from Archie McPhee®. They’re creepy and literary.
Halloween Finger Puppets – There’s a large variety of Halloween specific finger puppets on the market. Some are cardboard. Some are plastic. All can inspire your child’s imagination! Available for as little as 9 cents each, these are an easily affordable option. If you’re not on a budget, Archie McPhee scores again with Glow Zombie Finger Puppets at about $1 each sold (sold in package of 5) or Black and White Finger Monsters at about $1.25 each (sold in package of 4).
Vampire Fangs – Get some fangs and you’ll be like “True Blood” author, Charlaine Harris who has a custom pair. You can find high end, realistic teeth for you and inexpensive options for the neighborhood kids. Amazon, Oriental Trading Company, or your local Party City should be well-stocked.
Zombie Figures – Zombies are popular these days for both children and adults, so Zombie figures are easy to find. Some are simple and harken back to the green army men we had as kids. Others are detailed and remind me of HOMIES. Both types are available from Amazon.
Witches Fingers – There’s just something irresistible about slipping on a blue finger with a long red fingernail. It makes you feel like you can overpower anything by just pointing at it. You can purchase fingers for your little witches at U.S. Toy Company for about 12 cents per finger. Similar products called Martian Fingers are available from Oriental Trading Company.
And a bonus: If you’re having a Halloween party, these reusable blood bag drink dispensers are fantastically fun! They hold 11.5 ounces of your favorite soda, juice, beer, wine, or mixed drink and come in packages of 10 for about $20 from Amazlab.
Gluten-free moms will appreciate your thoughtfulness in providing non-candy treats! Gluten-free kids will appreciate being able to enjoy your treat immediately without concern.
Whatever treats you provide, have fun, be safe, and Happy Halloween!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”