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.”

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Ten Halloween Treats for Any Child

Here are ten Halloween treats for any child. Every kid loves to get candy for Halloween. No kid NEEDS candy for Halloween. But how will kids respond if you give them a fun Halloween toy instead? Perhaps this is the year to find out.

Making this change can eliminate any mixed emotions you have about encouraging sugary snacks while also making your treats more inclusive. With candy treats, some children will have to sort out the chocolate, the dairy, the gluten, the artificial coloring, or other allergens. That can put a damper on their excitement about the holiday. Switching away from food will mean more kids can enjoy your treats!

When I was a kid, I loved wax lips and fangs even when they weren’t part of my costume. I also had fun with clicking metal frogs. My kids loved scaring me with plastic spiders and snakes. With more toy varieties available than ever, it’s easy to expand on a theme of disguises or themed toys.

Here are ten items to explore:

One. Themed Rubber Duckies. Choose monster duck shapes or ducks dressed in costumes – witches, skeletons, ghosts and more. They’re fun in the bathtub and they don’t hurt when toddlers throw them at each other after eating lots of sugar.

Two. Mustaches. My family wears these off and on all year long. We wear them to parties for no reason at all. We dress up like pirates and sing pirate songs. The kids love them – even the girls.

Specific shapes and sizes are available individually. There are also variety packs with various a va. Some come in bright colors, others are simply brown, black, and gray.

Three. Slime. Tiny cans of slime seem like the remnants of ghosts. And kids love icky feeling messy things.

Four. Capes. Children can become vampires or superheroes by donning a simple cape. Red, blue, and black capes with a Velcro closure are available for less than $1 each. They can be worn as is or decorated as a fun activity.

Five. Balls. Superballs, bouncing pumpkins, or eyeball balls are all available and fun. I still love super balls. The higher the bounce, the better.

Six. Halloween Crayons and/or Coloring Books. I realize at this point I’m mostly making a list of toys I like. I’m even a sucker for the crayons and placemats they give kids in restaurants.

Seven. Temporary Tattoos. My grandkids love temporary tattoos. Choose an assortment with bats, skeletons, jack-o-lanterns, and candy corn or opt for Paw Patrol, PJ Masks, or Frozen.

Eight. Bubbles. Every toddler I know has learned to ask to blow bubbles by saying bub or bubbles as soon as their vocabulary grows beyond four or five words. One of my grandchildren says and signs it.

There are hundreds of delivery containers for bubbles. Some have holiday themes. Others do not. Choose the size and variety that best suits your trick or treat needs from any discount, big box, grocery, or online store.

Nine. Glow Critters. If your kids love glow bracelets, they’re sure to love glow critters. Many of these are packaged with bracelets for the kids to wear for additional visibility when trick or treating.

Ten. Flashing Spike Ring. Jewelry is another option for themed giveaways. Flashing spike rings remind me of light up sensory balls. I’ve been known to stare into a few, and the kids are quickly mesmerized – as if they’re under a witch’s spell.

Even if you decide to dole out candy, putting a few toys in the mix will make your house more friendly for children with dietary restrictions. And experience tells me, children love variety. When I’ve mixed in toys on Halloween, they’ve quickly become more popular than candy.

Happy Halloween! Stay safe, everyone.

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.”

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.”

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!
halloween
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…

Zombie SKITTLES®
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!

https://www.nowheychocolate.com/

http://www.cooking2thrive.com/blog/allergen-free-halloween-treats-you-can-share-with-the-class/

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

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.”