Happy Halloween!

It’s Halloween and I’m in a bit of a stormy mood. I think that’s appropriate, but others who must deal with me may have a different opinion. I understand. But at least I’m feeling stormy on a holiday filled with witches, ghosts, and zombies! I fit right in.

Like everything these days, Halloween may require some last-minute adjustments. Ingredients in candy may have changed due to supply shortages. Some neighbors may not hand out treats because they’re sick. Others may not be able to afford to buy candy when the price of food is so high.

But Halloween can still be fun!

If you’re on a specialized diet, rereading the labels of your favorites may be the only adjustment needed.

Gluten -free kids can switch to Halloween cookies at the last minute. Deconstruct some gluten-free Oreos and use orange and white icing to decorate them like jack-o-lanterns.

Popcorn Balls may be another quick-change option if you’re gluten-free.

For those who limit sugar, Brach’s® offers a variety of Gummy Bears and individually wrapped Fruit Slices jelly candy and Hershey’s has zero sugar chocolate bars. These sugar-free options may contain alcohol sugars that need to be avoided on a low histamine diet.

Last year, my grandkids and I turned Rice Krispy treats into ghouls with the help of cookie cutters and some black and green frosting. Then we made a burrito into a headless character from a cartoon we’d just watched.

Your cupboard and pantry are probably full of Marshmallows and trash bags that can become ghosts at a moment’s notice. Black microwave containers can become mini cauldrons filled with cheese dip or chocolate witch’s brew.

Spaghetti and red sauce can look like bloody intestines. Pixie Stix® may be filled with goblin ashes. All it takes is a little imagination and collaborative suspension of disbelief to make Halloween magic.

I took a 6, 4, and an almost three-year-old for a ride through the neighborhood to look at Halloween decorations a couple of days ago. I had a bag full of prizes. We held a contest to see who could find the most of an assigned category – bats, spiders, witches, and ghosts. The first one to find 5 in their category got a prize.

After a quick first round, it was clear that jack-o-lanterns would be the best category, so the 6-year-old teamed up with me to find pumpkins. We counted over 200. He practiced adding numbers together. I kept the other two engaged and we all earned prizes. It was great, spur-of-the-moment fun.

Today has already required many adjustments. I’m not feeling good about some of those, but overall I’m happy it’s Halloween and excited to see all the trick-or-treaters this evening. And if they don’t show up, I’m happy to eat their candy.

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.”


Gluten-Free Halloween Treats for 2019

We’re only a hop, skip, and jump away from Halloween, and it’s a great time for us to bring you a list of fun, gluten-free Halloween treats for 2019. My kids always loved Halloween. I have great photos of them as cowboys, rodeo clowns, Rambo, and Pee Wee Herman. But it wasn’t all about the costumes; it was also about the treats!
Of course it’s important to have treats that are good to your tummy. Since we have to be gluten-free, we compiled a list of gluten-free treats for this Halloween and now we want to share…

Zombies are on the march and will soon arrive in your town. Flavors include Petrifying Citrus Punch, Mummified Melon, Boogeyman Blackberry, Chilling Black Cherry, and Blood Red Berry. There’s a rotten Zombie hidden in each pack ready to attack your palate with grossness so watch out!
Ingredients: Sugar, corn syrup, hydrogenated palm kernel oil; less than 2% of: citric acid, tapioca dextrin, modified corn starch, natural and artificial flavors, colors (red 40 lake, blue 2 lake, yellow 6 lake, yellow 5 lake, blue 1 lake, titanium dioxide, yellow 6, yellow 5, red 40, blue 1), sodium citrate, carnauba wax.

SweeTARTS® Skulls and Bones
This Halloween, SweeTARTS will come in the shape of skulls & bones in 5 colors and flavors: Blue Punch (blue), Cherry (red), Grape (purple), Lemon (yellow), and Green Apple (green).
Ingredients: Dextrose, maltodextrin, malic acid, and less than 2% calcium stearate, natural flavors, blue 2 lake, red 40 lake, yellow 5 lake.

Hershey’s Miniatures
Always a favorite, these tiny chocolates will appear in glow-in-the-dark wrappers in time for trick-or-treating. Please note these contain milk.
Ingredients: Milk chocolate (sugar, milk, chocolate, cocoa butter, lactose, milk fat, soy lecithin, polyglycerol polyricinoleat (PGPR), emulsifier, vanillin, artificial flavor).

Reese’s Stuffed With Pieces in the Shape of a Pumpkin
Take a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, stuff it with Reese’s Pieces and smash it into a pumpkin, ta-da! There you have Reese’s Halloween feature. While these are gluten-free, they contain both peanuts and milk.
Ingredients: Milk chocolate (sugar, cocoa butter, chocolate, nonfat milk, milk fat, lactose, lecithin (soy), PBPR, emulsifier), peanuts, sugar, dextrose, partially defatted peanuts, hydrogenated vegetable oil (palm kernel oil, soybean oil), contains 2% or less of: corn syrup, salt, palm kernel oil, artificial color (yellow 5 lake, yellow 6 lake, red 40 lake, blue 1 lake), confectioner’s glaze, lecithin (soy), modified cornstarch, TBHQ and citric acid to maintain freshness, carnuaba wax, vanillin, artificial flavor.

Frankford® Gummy Body Parts
Gruesome gummy eyeballs, brains and severed fingers, feet, and ears. Truly a haunting sight!
Ingredients: Glucose syrup, sugar, gelatin (beef), sorbitol, citric acid, malic acid, pectin, artificial flavors, carnauba wax, palm kernel oil, sodium citrate, artificial colors (yellow 6, blue 1, yellow 5, red 40, titanium dioxide).

Tootsie Caramel Apple Orchard Pops
Want the flavor of a caramel apple without having to make one? Try these suckers from Tootsie. They’re available in green apple, golden delicious, and macintosh flavors. Each flavor includes chewy caramel which means they include milk.
Ingredients: Sugar, corn syrup, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, skim milk, heavy cream, malic acid, whey, salt, artificial flavors, sodium caseinate, soy lecithin, artificial colors (including FD&C Blue1, FD&C Red 40), turmeric coloring.

Charms® Candy Corn Pops
Think of these as candy corn that you eat from a stick.
Ingredients: Sugar, corn syrup, salt, artificial flavor, artificial colors (including FD&C red 40 blue 1), turmeric coloring, titanium dioxide. Milk and soy may be present.

Blood Bites Oozing Candy Blood Bags with Glow-in-the-Dark Fangs
All fangs look better when covered in blood! These fangs come with blood bags of oozing watermelon flavored candy. Yum!
Ingredients: Corn syrup, sugar, water, pectin, xanthan gum, citric acid, artificial flavor, red 40, sodium citrate.

Espeez Old Fashioned Rock Candy on a Stick
The novelty will please your kids and the nostalgia will please your parents. These bright colored sticks are made in a gluten-free, nut-free facility and are both Kosher Parve and Halal certified.
Ingredients: Pure cane sugar, less than 2% of the following–natural and artificial flavors, FD&C (Red 3, Blue 1, Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6) caramel color, titanium dioxide.

PEZ® Party Halloween Bag
PEZ candy is peanut, tree nut, and gluten-free. Party bag includes 12 mini dispensers, each individually wrapped with one assorted fruit PEZ Candy roll. There are two of each design in the bag: Black Cat, Ghost, Spider in Spiderweb, Pumpkin, Owl with Witch Hat and Bats.
Ingredients: Corn syrup, adipic acid, hydrogenated palm kernel & palm oils, mono & diglycerides, natural & artificial flavors, artificial colors FD&C red 3, yellow 5, yellow 6, blue 2.

If your friends and family have varied allergies and sensitivities, you may want to order treats from No Whey! Foods. Everything they make is 100% milk-free, peanut-free, tree nut-free, gluten-free, egg-free, soy-free, vegan and kosher. They also do not use artificial colors and flavors.

No Whey’s Halloween selections include Skull Pops, Spook Free Chocolatey Bars, Spook Free PeaNot Cups, Spook Free milkless caramel & nougat in a chocolatey coating, Spider Pops, and more.

With fun costumes and tummy-friendly treats Halloween can be the best holiday of the year for your gluten-free child!




Portions of this list were compiled from advance information. Please read labels in the store or online before purchasing.

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.”

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.”

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!

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.
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
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)

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,
ROLO Minis
Symphony Bar
Kit Kat
YORK Minis and YORK Shapes

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

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

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

Any Peep not labeled GF

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


Candy Buttons
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

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
(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
All flavors of Wonka Bars
Wonka Nerds
Wonka Gummies
Wonka Kazoozles

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

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

From Tootsie Roll Industries
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
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

Andes Cookies

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

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?
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: