Posts tagged ‘Trick-or-Treat’

October 10, 2017

Trick or Treat?

halloweenIf you offer something besides candy, will the little ones think it’s a trick or treat? Halloween is swiftly approaching. I love the costumes and watching the kids. I don’t love all the candy. It’s predicted that 2.7 billion dollars will be spent on candy in the US this Halloween. That’s a lot of sugar that none of us really need.

I not opposed to occasional candy or dessert and I don’t want to take the fun out of trick-or-treating, but this year I’m going to explore some edible candy alternatives rather than giving you lists of gluten-free candy or non-candy items. After all, getting something different to eat is fun too!

ghostsGarden Veggie Ghosts and Bats

If you’re a fan of Sensible Portions® Garden Veggie Straws (which I like because they’re actually straws that you can blow air through), you’ll love Garden Veggie Ghosts and Bats! They’re crispy, salty snacks shaped like, you got it, ghosts and bats. Packaged in .05 oz bags for Halloween, these crisps have less fat than potato chips.

Popchips® Galaxy Puff’s

Who doesn’t think Darth Vader is scary? Aged White Cheddar Popchips shaped like Star Wars ships and characters are now available in .8 ounce bags perfect for Halloween. These gluten-free chips have no cholesterol and no trans-fats.

Caramel Apple Chips

Seneca 100 calorie bags of Caramel Apple Chips are gluten-free, kosher and have 30% less fat than regular chips. I like the plain apple chips, but the caramel apple flavor is a great riff on retro Halloween treats.

Popcorn Mini Bags

These look just like regular bags of microwave popcorn, but are only 1.6 ounces. Some years you can find orange and black packages especially for Halloween. Other years, it’s only the smaller size that differentiates these from regular microwave popcorn. Several brands are available online and from brick and mortar retailers.

Already Popped Corn

Snack sized bags of SkinnyPop Popcorn are GMO and preservative free. Flavors include Sea Salt & Pepper, White Cheddar, Jalapeño, and Dusted Dark Chocolate in addition to regular. If you prefer SMARTFOOD® Popcorn, the White Cheddar Cheese, Theater Butter, and SMARTFOOD Delight® Sea Salt and White Cheddar Cheese flavors are gluten-free.

popcorn ballHalloween Popcorn Balls

While we’re talking about popcorn, you may like Kathy Kaye Foods’ Halloween Popcorn Balls. This option contains sugar in a retro presentation. Remember when these were homemade? Each ball is 110 calories and 18 g of sugar. That’s the same amount of sugar as a Snickers® Miniature, but with 60 less calories and a lot more novelty.


Individual yogurt servings in an easy to carry, easy to open, package. The packages have trivia, games, and jokes on them making them fun to unpack from your trick-or-treat bag. Although each flavor contains 8 grams of sugar, it also has probiotic cultures, calcium, Vitamin D, and protein.

raisinsRaisin Mini Snacks

Wouldn’t it be great if they packaged these as monster poop for Halloween? The size is good. The raisins are sweet and healthy. The only thing lacking is themed packaging. Nonetheless, this is a good gluten-free option.

Sunflower or Pumpkin Seeds

Although I love them, I hesitate to recommend nut mixes for Halloween. Seeds are an alternative to nuts. FritoLay® offers a variety pack of Spitz® Seeds in various flavors. Salted Sunflower Seeds, Chili Lime Sunflower Seeds, Cracked Pepper Sunflower Seeds, Dill Pickle Pumpkin Seeds, Dill Pickle Sunflower Seeds, Salted Caramel Sunflower Seeds, Seasoned Pumpkin Seeds, Seasoned Sunflower Seeds, Smoky BBQ Sunflower Seeds, and Spicy Sweet Chili Sunflower Seeds are all made without gluten-containing ingredients. Please note that these flavors are not made in a dedicated facility or on dedicated gluten-free equipment. Use appropriate caution.

Cheetos, Fritos, Doritos

Variety snack packs of mainstream chips are available everywhere. If you need to grab something at the last minute, this can be an easy option. Avoid Sun Chips and stick with the gluten-free flavors of Cheetos, Fritos, Doritos, and Lays Potato Chips.

I realize that some of these options may be more expensive than what you’re used to buying. Keep in mind that most of them are bulkier than mini candy bars, so children are less likely to grab a handful meaning you won’t need to buy as much to begin with.
food group
If you live in a neighborhood like mine where many children are food insecure, you can also think of this as a way to reduce hunger in your community. Spend a little more and give fruit and vegetable pouches or individual cups of applesauce, mandarin oranges, peaches, or pineapple. Put a box of raisins and an individual serving packet of peanut butter in a plastic bag (you may only want to give these to older children who can monitor their own allergies) for a do-it-yourself sandwich kit. Include individual cups of salsa along with corn chips. Give instant oatmeal cups, individual bowls of Cheerios, microwaveable brown rice, or pouches of tuna.

If you decide to give substantial food items, but don’t want kids to feel awkward about taking them, get some Halloween treat bags (Oriental Trading has a good selection) or create your own Boo Bags using brown paper bags, bag up the food and hand out the bags instead of individual items. The surprise factor will entice. Hungry kids will be appreciative. Any child who is disappointed will get plenty of candy from other homes.

Getting something different to eat is fun! Getting something gluten-free is special when you’re gluten intolerant. Getting something nutritious to eat is critical! I let this be my guide to trick or treat.

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.”

October 27, 2013

Let’s Make Gluten-Free Halloween Candy Less Spooky for Our Kids!

When I was a kid, Halloween meant a carnival at school featuring large black pots filled with smoking dry ice, a darkened haunted house where you put your hands in ketchup-covered spaghetti “guts”, and a church carnival featuring bobbing for apples in a bucket of water.

Our costumes were mostly homemade. Little Bo Peep was a favorite. Trick-or-treating included the occasional homemade popcorn ball or caramel apple. These treats were the best!

J & B

Of course, there were stories of razor blades in candy somewhere far, far away, but never a problem in our small town. The biggest danger we faced was getting excited and forgetting to watch for cars before we crossed the street.

I raised my children in a larger town. We were careful to limit our trick-or-treat stops to the homes of friends. Even then, we checked every wrapper to make sure it was sealed before the kids started their feast.

I’m sure that most poisoned candy stores are urban myth, but there are some real Halloween dangers – especially for celiac and gluten-intolerant children. Many popular candies are not gluten free. Brands that are normally safe sometimes use slightly different formulations during busy seasons. All of this is a bit scary. So how can we make Halloween less spooky for gluten-free kids?

If you have a tendency to want to keep the kids at home, I would encourage you to rethink. I always feel that it’s best to let our children feel as normal as possible. As long as you participate and set some boundaries, there’s no reason your little goblin can’t go trick-or-treating with his friends.

I doubt if you let your children dive in and eat all the candy they want to right away. Since you already have rules, it shouldn’t be hard to let those rules include some label reading. You can review ingredients for the little ones, and make label reading into a game for the older kids.

If you think you’ll get some protests about being deprived, you can offer a substitution program in which you trade piece for piece a gluten-free candy for a problem candy your child has in his bucket. Of course, I’m all in favor of limiting the amount of sugar your children are allowed as well.

If you’ll primarily be trick-or-treating at relatives’ houses, you can send them a list of acceptable candy in advance to make your job easier. To help you accomplish your mission, let’s start with these lists of popular candy brands to see how many gluten-free Halloween candy options we can find:



Gluten-Free: Almond Joy, Mounds, Milk Chocolate Kisses, Caramel Filled Chocolate Kisses, Cherry Cordial Creme Kisses, Hershey’s Nuggets, Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar, Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar with Almonds, Heath Bar, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (except for seasonal shapes), Skor, Skor Toffee Bar, York Peppermint Pattie

NOT Gluten-Free: Hershey’s Special Dark Bar, Hershey’s Cookies ‘N’ Creme Bar, Hershey’s Air Delight, Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Drops, Hershey’s Miniatures, Mr. Goodbar, Symphony Bar, Hershey’s Extra Dark Chocolate, Kit Kat

Jelly Belly

Gluten-Free: All jelly beans are gluten-free and dairy free. Jelly Belly Candy Corn.

NOT Gluten-Free: Chocolate Malt Balls, Chocolate Bridge Mix, Licorice Bridge Mix, Licorice Buttons, Licorice Pastels or any mix containing malt balls.

Just Born

Gluten-Free: Seasonal Peeps as noted on package. The following Mike and Ike’s – Berry Blast, Italian Ice, Jolly Joes, Lemonade Blends, Original Fruits, Redrageous, Tangy Twister, Tropical Typhoon, Zours, Hot Tamales, and Goldenberg’s Vintage Peanut Chews

NOT Gluten-Free: Any Peep not labeled GF.


Mars Chocolate

Gluten-Free: Plain M&Ms meet the stringent standards for GF certification, additional M&Ms other than pretzel flavored or special flavors, All flavors of 3 Musketeers, Milky Way Midnight Bar, Milky Way Caramel Bar, All flavors of Snickers, Dove Chocolate products other than those containing graham or cookies, Munch Nut Bar unless noted

NOT Gluten-Free: M&M pretzel flavor, some packages of M&M White Chocolate, Mint, and M&M Coconut flavor, Milky Way Bar, Mars Bar, Mars Combos, Twix, Maltesers,

Please read labels on all Mars products.


GlutenFree: Necco Wafers, Necco Chocolate Wafers, Candy House Candy Buttons, Canada Mint, Wintergreen and Spearmint Lozenges, Mary Jane, Mary Jane Peanutbutter Kisses, Banana Splits Chews, Mint Julep Chews, Haviland Thin Mints, Wintergreen Patty, Nonpareils, Chocolate Stars, Skybar, Sweethearts Conversation Hearts

NOT Gluten-Free: Red Hot Cinnamon Bat-Wing Wafers, Sweethearts Mummy Hearts, Zombie Hearts, Mighty Malts, Clark Bars, Peach Blossoms, Haviland Bridge Mix, Haviland Real Chocolate Covered Raisins, Haviland Real Chocolate Double Dipped Peanuts, Slap Stix, Squirrel Nut Zippers


Gluten-Free: Baby Ruth, Bit-O-Honey, Original Flavor Butterfinger, Milk Chocolate, Goobers, Nips, Oh Henry!, Rasinets including Cranberry and Dark Chocolate, Sno-Caps, Wonka Pixy Stix, Laffy Taffy, Laffy Taffy Rope, Wonka Lik-M-Aid Fun Dip, Runts

NOT Gluten-Free (or processed in a facility that processes gluten, read label): Butterfinger Crisp Bar, Butterfinger Giant Bar, Butterfinger Snackerz, Butterfinger Medallions, Butterfinger Jingles, Butterfinger Hearts, Butterfinger Pumpkins, Wonka Nerds, Sweetarts, All flavors of Wonka Bars, Chewy Spree, Wonka Gummies, Wonka Kazoozles, Everlasting Gobstopper, 100 Grand Bar, Nestle Crunch Bar


Gluten-Free: Salt Water Taffy, Chocolate Jelly Sticks, Jelly Beans, Gummy Bears are all certified GF

NOT Gluten Free: Candies packaged by Sweets, but not made by Sweets. Read labels.

Tootsie Roll Industries

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

NOT Gluten-Free: Andes Cookies

Mars Wrigley

Gluten-Free: Cream Savers, Lifesavers, Skittles, Starburst, Altoids other than flavors listed below.

NOT Gluten-Free: Altoids Smalls Peppermint Mints, Altoids Chocolate Dipped Covered Mints

As you can see, there’s quite a list of acceptable treats. All you have to do to make Halloween candy less spooky for your gluten-intolerant child is set some boundaries and use these lists as a reference. That’s not such a tough trick!

Happy Halloween!


If you have a specific question about labeling or want a more definitive answer, 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 781-485-4800

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.”