Monsters, Ghouls, and New Halloween Rules

It’s a year for monsters, ghouls, and new Halloween rules! At this time last year, I was anticipating a neighborhood Halloween extravaganza with live music, potion mixing, slime making, witch-hat ring toss, a haunted pirate ship, and tons of treats. (And I’d be remiss if I failed to mention a real fire truck manned by very real, very muscular LAFD firemen!)

This year, we’re all scrambling to find a way to provide a fun Halloween experience in a safe manner. Obviously, this may require some new rules. It is still possible to find some health department approved haunted houses in my state, but the safest experiences will be at home without guests or outside with masks, gloves, and distance.

Traditional trick-or-treating is allowed here, but I have no idea whether the neighborhood kids will show up. Nonetheless, I plan to be prepared.

Normally, I’d keep everything gluten-free. This year, I’m focusing on providing something filling along with the candy. There are many families nearby who have been affected by unemployment. A more substantial snack may keep a child from going to bed hungry.

What should I buy?

For parents to be comfortable, I’ll stick with individually packaged, store-bought snacks. It’s not the time for homemade. I won’t go so far as to choose things kids won’t like, and not everything will be nutritious. After all, Halloween is all about treats!

The first item I’m considering is Monster Pop!™ by POPCORN INDIANA® that comes in single-serving purple bags. All flavors are gluten-free and contain no high-fructose corn syrup. They’re also kosher.

Each bag is adorned with a cute monster that corresponds to the flavor. Bud is a yellow jokester who likes Big-Time BUTTER™. Cas has bright orange hair and a no-nonsense preference for Cheeserific CHEESE™. Kute purple Kit likes the Sweet‘n Salty Kooky KETTLE™ flavor. And finally, devilish Pip with his red tongue and lips prefers Finger Lickin’ PIZZA™.

Popcorn is whole grain, naturally filling, and high in fiber. It’s a treat you can feel good about serving!

They won’t make the gluten-free list, but Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Boo Packs and Cheez-It Halloween Fun Packs are kid favorite cheese cracker options. If you want something even more substantial, Lance ToastCheeR or ToastyR Peanut Butter Sandwich Crackers can fill the bill and the belly.

Sensible Portions™ Garden Veggie Chips™ come in bags of ghosts and bats. They may look a little ghoulish, but at least they contain vegetables. They are also salty and crunchy and easy for toddlers to chew.

Welch’s offers Halloween Fruit Snacks in a variety of package sizes. These snacks are made with real fruit and contain no gluten, preservatives, or fat. They come in multiple fun shapes like bats, witches, ghosts, haunted castles, and pumpkins. If your kids like gummies, they’re sure to like these.

Of course there are hundreds of candy choices to accompany crackers, chips, and fruit. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups offer some nutrition as do PAYDAY bars.

If your budget allows, you may want to skip the candy and offer nuts, trail mix, beef jerky, granola, or protein bars.

How should I deliver the treats?

During this pandemic, handing out treats in person is more risk than I want to assume. That means I need a contactless delivery device. I’ve seen some of the crafty things people are building for this purpose, but I’m fresh off constructing a mailbox stand and I don’t want another construction project right now.

I found some really great plastic cauldrons that can sit outside at the bottom of my steps. They’ll function as both decoration and delivery device. Trick-or-treaters can help themselves and when the stock is gone, I can refill or just be done.

I haven’t decided whether I’ll dress up ghoulishly and watch the festivities from behind my storm door, or wait until late in the evening to check the inventory. Once I have everything I need in hand, I can make that decision as the day gets closer.

Either way, I’m ready for monsters, ghouls, and new Halloween Rules!

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.”

Allergen Free Halloween Treats You Can Share With The Class

If you’re looking for allergen free Halloween Treats you can share with your child’s class, we have a few for you to consider. It can be hard to find treats that are free of all the major allergens, but when it comes to sharing with classmates, you don’t want anyone to be left out. Luckily, this year there are some fun options available!

Sweets Indeed has packaged various forms of candy in vials with Halloween themed names. The vials come in packs of 12. Some are a mixture of liquid and pellet candies. Some have crystals and powder. All of them look like great fun!

At this moment, it’s less expensive to purchase these items from Amazon than it is direct from Sweets. A 12 pack is $14.95 on Amazon and $19.95 from Sweets.
blood
Blood Sweet Candy

The Blood Sweet Candy set includes 6 vials of Blood Sample Sour Cherry Liquid Candy and 6 vials of Blood Clots Wild Cherry Candy Pebbles

The vials look gruesome and gross just like kids prefer! With sugar, corn syrup, and fructose as the main ingredients, I won’t say these are healthy treats, but few Halloween treats are.

Ingredients
Candy Pebbles: Sugar, Dextrose, Dextrin, Malic Acid, Corn Syrup, Artificial Flavors & Colors

Liquid Candy: Corn Syrup, Fructose, Water, Sugar, Malic Acid, Artificial Flavors & Colors, Natural Mica based Titanium Dioxide Pigments

https://www.shopsweetsindeed.com/products/bloody-sweet-candy-12-pack

monster
Monster Fun Candy

The Monster Fun set is comprised of 2 vials of Vampire Blood Black Cherry Liquid Candy, 2 vials of Monster Slime Green Apple Liquid Candy, 2 vials of Witches Potion Grape Liquid Candy, 2 vials of Jack’s Ashes Orange Candy Powder, 2 vials of Devil Dust Strawberry Candy Powder, and 2 vials of Werewolf Dandruff Root Beer Candy Powder.

Ingredients
Candy Powder: Sugar, Dextrose, Dextrin, Malic Acid, Corn Syrup, Artificial Flavors & Colors, Natural Mica based Titanium Dioxide Pigments

Liquid Candy: Corn Syrup, Fructose, Water, Sugar, Malic Acid, Artificial Flavors & Colors, Natural Mica based Titanium Dioxide Pigments

https://www.shopsweetsindeed.com/collections/halloween/products/monster-fun-candy-12-pack

Ghost
Ghost Fun Candy

If you choose Ghost Fun, you’ll get 6 vials of Ghost Toot Dust Vanilla Candy Powder plus 6 vials of Ghost Boogers Vanilla Candy Pebbles.

Ingredients
Candy Pebbles: Sugar, Dextrose, Dextrin, Malic Acid, Corn Syrup, Artificial Flavors & Colors

Candy Powder: Sugar, Dextrose, Dextrin, Malic Acid, Corn Syrup, Artificial Flavors & Colors, Natural Mica based Titanium Dioxide Pigments

https://www.shopsweetsindeed.com/collections/halloween/products/ghost-fun-candy-12-pack

undeadZombie Fun Candy

Can candy be undead? I guess it can. Order Zombie Fun and get 6 vials of Zombie Toot Dust Sour Apple Candy Powder and 6 vials of Zombie Boogers Green Apple Candy Powder.

Ingredients
Candy Pebbles: Sugar, Dextrose, Dextrin, Malic Acid, Corn Syrup, Artificial Flavors & Colors

Candy Powder: Sugar, Dextrose, Dextrin, Malic Acid, Corn Syrup, Artificial Flavors & Colors, Natural Mica based Titanium Dioxide Pigments

https://www.shopsweetsindeed.com/collections/halloween/products/zombie-fun-candy-12-pack

unicorn
Unicorn Boogers

What kid hasn’t eaten boogers? Now it can be a parent sanctioned activity! Unicorn Boogers include Fruity Candy Pebbles along with Sugar Crystals. The candy pebbles flavors are key lime, lemonade, watermelon, wild berry, tangerine and blue raspberry. Then there are glimmer white sugar crystals. Apparently Boogers come at a premium. They’re $21.95 for 12 vials from either Sweets or Amazon.

Ingredients
Sugar, Dextrose, Dextrin, Malic Acid, Corn Syrup, Artificial Flavors & Colors

https://www.shopsweetsindeed.com/products/unicorn-boogers-8-pack

Zombie Bawlz

Your treats don’t have to come in vials. Zombie Bawlz Chewy Fruit Sours come in a bag filled with Cherry, Watermelon and Green Apple chewy flavors. They’re $10 per bag from Sweets. On Amazon, you can get two bags for that amount of money.

Ingredients
Corn Syrup, Sugar, Dextrose, Malic Acid, Citric Acid, Modified Corn Starch, Sodium Citrate, Carnuba Wax, Bees Wax, Confectioner’s Glaze, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Caramel Color, Yellow #5, Yellow #6 Lake, Red #40, Red #40 Lake, Blue #1, Blue #2 Lake

https://www.shopsweetsindeed.com/products/zombie-bawlz

If none of these treats appeal to you, Sixlets® offers 3 flavors of gluten-free, nut-free, kosher candies that contain no artificial colors or sweeteners. It should be noted that these candies do contain milk and soy.

A box of 72 tubes can be purchased from Amazon for $13.07 and is eligible for Prime shipping. Each tube has 23 calories. Choose from Original Sixlets Chocolatey Candies, Chewy Sixlets Fruity Flavored Candies, and Fruity Sixlets Chocolatey Candies.

The original flavor features a chocolatey center containing cocoa and carob and a crunchy candy coating. Chewy Sixlets Fruity Flavored Candies come in Lemon, Orange, Cherry, Blue Raspberry, and Green Apple. You can enjoy Fruity Sixlets Chocolatey Candies in Blueberry, Strawberry, Raspberry, Banana, Orange flavor.

https://sixlets.com/?gclid=Cj0KCQjw6rXeBRD3ARIsAD9ni9AQfHbJuL0jMrH1pPCZ4aeIMDxXnpGtY0N95QZE2CMVhoggoFGW0QwaAgSnEALw_wcB

With Halloween more than a week away, there’s plenty of time to get your treats ordered and delivered in time. Choosing treats with fewer allergens is a thoughtful and kind gesture for you to make to your child’s allergic classmates.

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.”

http://www.cooking2thrive.com/blog/halloween-treats-dont-candy/

http://www.cooking2thrive.com/blog/trick-or-treat/

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Halloween Treats Don’t Have to be Candy

pumpkinsHalloween 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.
zombie
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.
bloodbags
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.”

http://www.nestle.com/ask-nestle/health-nutrition/answers/gluten-free-products
https://www.tattoofun.com/halloween-temporary-tattoos.html
https://mcphee.com/collections/temporary-tattoos/products/edgar-allan-poe-tattoos
http://www.orientaltrading.com/halloween-finger-puppets-a2-13660484.fltr?prodCatId=90000%201604%201237
https://mcphee.com/collections/halloween/products/glow-zombie-finger-puppets
https://mcphee.com/collections/zombies-monsters/products/black-and-white-finger-monsters
http://www.ustoy.com/catalog/product/view/id/29114/s/witch-fingers-24-pieces-1/category/416/
https://www.amazlab.com/
http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/promptly/qas/qa-charlaine-harris-the-author-behind-true-blood-shares-her-writing-insights-and-even-the-scoop-on-her-custom-vampire-fangs

Booooooooo! Who…Has Gluten-Free Halloween Candy?

Booooooooo! Who…has gluten-free Halloween Candy? My family loves a Halloween party, Halloween costume, costume in general, party in general, treats in particular and fun…always!
cowboys

As the holiday approaches, it just so happens that I’ve been digitizing some of my old photos. If you look through a stack, you’d think every day was Halloween at our house. On regular days, Ben and James spent most of their time as cowboys, often in real leather chaps & vests, but sometimes they posed as army men, kings, and alien creatures in cardboard spaceships.
On Halloween the costume parade expanded to feature rodeo clowns, Native Americans, and Rambo.
beard
Rambo
Like the kids in my current neighborhood, the boys loved going door to door extorting candy from our friends. We would start early, stay out late, and then gleefully sort through the candy haul. Of course, way back then none of us worried about gluten in the candy; all we had to fear was the mythical razor blade.

Now we’re very gluten conscious. Every year, I review the information available from the Hershey’s, Jelly Belly, Just Born, Mars, NECCO, Nestle, Sweets and Tootsie Roll websites to make sure that items on the following list are still gluten-free. The past two years, all of the sites have been helpful. This year, there’s a change at Mars where the consumer is encouraged to read labels, and Nestle which vaguely talks about being responsive to the public’s request for gluten-free options.

I agree with Mars that reading labels is important, but in the dark, in a mask, on someone else’s porch may not be the best time to expect a child to read. And once the kids come home with a plastic pumpkin full of candy, you’re not going to want to take the time to read labels either. Besides that, the special Halloween candy bars may not contain all the information on each individual package. To prepare your children in advance so they can selectively grab from a candy tray, use the following list which contains candy identified as gluten-free by its manufacturer.

(While there may still be gluten-free options available from Mars and Nestle, I’ve removed those listings just to be safe and included only the items that should definitely be avoided. If you want to read the labels on their other products, make sure there’s no wheat, wheat starch, rye, barley, malt, malted milk, oats unless specified as GF, flour (unless made from a GF grain), graham flour, cookie chis, or cookie dough included. Avoid candy containing edible starch, edible coatings, edible film, maltose, stabilizers, flavors, natural flavoring, malt flavoring, glucose syrup, and brown rice syrup unless the specific components are listed and are all GF.)

Booooooooo! Who…has gluten-free Halloween Candy? They do:

From Hershey’s
Enjoy:
Almond Joy (except Almond Joy Pieces)
HERSHEY’s Milk Duds (all)
HERSHEY’s Nuggets
HERSHEY’s Nuggets Milk Chocolate with Almonds
HERSHEY’s SPECIAL DARK Dark Chocolate with Almonds
HERSHEY’s Nuggets Extras Creamy Milk Chocolate with Toffee and Almonds
HERSHEY’s Milk Chocolate Bar
HERSHEY’s Milk Chocolate Bar with Almonds
HERSHEY’s Air Delight
Heath Bar
Milk Chocolate Kisses
Mint Dark Chocolate Truffles Candy Kisses
SPECIAL DARK Mildly Sweet Chocolate Kisses
Pumpkin Spice Flavored Candy Kisses
Caramel Filled Chocolate Kisses
Cherry Cordial Creme Kisses
Vanilla Creme Chocolate Kisses
MOUNDS (all)
PAYDAY (all)
REESE’s Peanut Butter Cups (except for Unwrapped Minis and Seasonal Shapes)
REESE’s PIECES (all except REESE’s PIECES Eggs)
ROLO Caramels (all except ROLO Minis)
Scharffen Berger
Skor Toffee Bars (all)
YORK Peppermint Pattie (all except YORK PIECES, YORK Minis and YORK Shapes)

Avoid:
Almond Joy Pieces
HERSHEY’s Extra Dark Chocolate
HERSHEY’s Cookies ‘N’ Creme Bar
HERSHEY’s Milk Chocolate Drops
HERSHEY’s Miniatures
HERSHEY’s Special Dark Bar
Mr. Goodbar
REESE’s Peanut Butter Cups unwrapped Minis and seasonal shapes,
REESE’s PIECES eggs
ROLO Minis
Symphony Bar
Kit Kat
YORK PIECES
YORK Minis and YORK Shapes

From Jelly Belly
Enjoy:
All jelly beans are gluten-free and dairy free
Jelly Belly Candy Corn

Avoid:
Any mix containing malt balls
Chocolate Bridge Mix
Licorice Bridge Mix
Chocolate Malt Balls
Licorice Buttons
Licorice Pastels

From Just Born
Enjoy:
Seasonal Peeps as noted on package
Mike and Ike’s – Berry Blast
Italian Ice
Jolly Joes
Lemonade Blends
Original Fruits
Redrageous
Tangy Twister
Tropical Typhoon
Zours
Hot Tamales
Goldenberg’s Vintage Peanut Chews

Avoid:
Any Peep not labeled GF

From Mars Chocolate
Avoid:
M&M pretzel flavor
Some packages of M&M White Chocolate, Mint, and M&M Coconut flavor
Maltesers
Mars Bar
Mars Combos
Milky Way Bar
Twix

From NECCO
Enjoy:

Candy Buttons
CANADA Mints
CANADA Wintergreen
Banana Splits Chews
Mint Julep Chews
Haviland Thin Mints
Haviland Wintergreen Patty
Mary Jane
Mary Jane Peanut Butter Kisses
NECCO Wafers
NECCO Chocolate Wafers
Sky Bar
Sweethearts

Avoid:
Clark Bars
Haviland Bridge Mix
Haviland Real Chocolate Covered Raisins
Haviland Real Chocolate Double Dipped Peanuts
Mighty Malts
Peach Blossoms
Red Hot Cinnamon Bat-Wing Wafers
Slap Stix
Squirrel Nut Zippers
Sweethearts Mummy Hearts
Zombie Hearts

From Nestle
Avoid
(some are processed in a facility that processes gluten containing items, read label):
100 Grand Bar
Butterfinger Crisp Bar
Butterfinger Giant Bar
Butterfinger Snackerz
Butterfinger Medallions
Butterfinger Jingles
Butterfinger Hearts
Butterfinger Pumpkins
Chewy Spree
Everlasting Gobstopper
Nestle Crunch Bar
Sweetarts
All flavors of Wonka Bars
Wonka Nerds
Wonka Gummies
Wonka Kazoozles

From Sweets
Enjoy:
Chocolate Jelly Sticks
Gummy Bears are all certified GF
Jelly Beans
Salt Water Taffy

Avoid:
Candies packaged by Sweets, but not made by Sweets. Read labels.

From Tootsie Roll Industries
Enjoy:
All Tootsie Rolls and Charms products with the exception of Andes cookies.
The following Tootsie Roll products are also peanut and nut product free:
Andes mints
Crows
Celia’s Milk or Dark Chocolate Covered Cherries
Charleston Chew
Charms Squares
Charms Sour Balls
Charms Candy Carnival
Frooties, Dots
Tropical Dots
Fluffy Stuff Cotton Candy
Junior Mints
Junior Caramels
Caramel Apple Pops
Fruit Smoothie Pops
Pops Galore
Tootsie Pops
Tootsie Peppermint Pops
Tropical Stormz Pops
Zip-A-Dee-Mini Pops
Child’s Play Tootsie Roll Assortment
Fruit Rolls
Tootsie Rolls
Sugar Babies
Sugar Daddy
Sugar Mama

Avoid:
Andes Cookies

From Mars Wrigley
Avoid:
Altoids Smalls Peppermint Mints
Altoids Chocolate Dipped Covered Mints

clown
There are enough choices to ensure your gluten-free kid can get a sugar high before the night is over so put the finishing touches on your costume and head out for some fun!

Stewart can’t decide if he wants to be a bidnessman or Elvis. Which do you think he should be?
BmanElvis
Happy Halloween!

If you require additional information, you can contact these candy companies at the following numbers:
Hershey’s 800-468-1714
Jelly Belly 800-522-3267
Just Born 888-645-3453
Mars Chocolate 800-627-7852
Necco 800-225-5508
Nestle USA 800-225-2270
Sweet’s 855-772-7720
Tootsie Roll Industries 773-838-3400
Mars Wrigley 800-974-4539

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.”

Additional resources:

http://www.necco.com/FAQs.aspx
http://www.tootsie.com/search/?q=gluten%20free
http://www.specialtyfood.com/organization/company/8077/