If you happen to be the mother or father of a young child, I’m sure you are quite aware that Halloween is just around the corner. So much so that you might already have costumes lined out or even purchased, (if you happen to have children like mine). As we all know Halloween is a fun and exciting time for the young and the old(er) but having a child with Celiac or gluten sensitivity raises challenges over and above the usual safety issues that have haunted parents everywhere. There is a lot of candy that is gluten-free and obviously a lot that is not. Do we have our child refuse the treat at the door or accept it and go through the bag at home once the loot has been obtained? My personal suggestion is to go ahead and let your child accept the treat, unless it is obvious (pretzels, crackers, cookies, etc.) and then before your child ravages through their bounty, you and your child sit down and sort through what is allowed and what isn’t. This gives you, the parent, the opportunity to check all the candy for the usual safety issues and also assures you that the candy your child is eating is safe – gluten-free-wise. The added benefit in sorting through candy this way is that it will also educate your child on what they can and can’t eat in the future should they have an opportunity to do so at school, parties or other social events. Any candy that is unsafe for your child can be donated to nursing homes, doctor’s offices, women’s shelters or any other similar organization. You can also donate it to overseas troops.
The NFCA has published a Gluten-Free Snack and Candy List on their website which is accessible at no cost and is a great list for Halloween or any other holiday or even everyday situations. They’ve also formatted the list so you could print it off and send it with your child to any social event to inform chaperones or other parents what is safe for your child. This is a great list from a trusted source, but as always, we suggest checking with the manufacturer periodically to make sure that their manufacturing practices or ingredients haven’t changed. Here is the link to the list. We hope you have a safe and fun Halloween!
- Chef Yvonne