Think outside the candy dish….
When I first told my husband we weren’t giving out candy for Halloween, he looked at me like I had lost my mind. I certainly didn’t want our house to be one of those places that kids complain about, but I figured a few yo-yos or rubber duckies might be a nice change from 101 Tootsie rolls. Besides, I knew too well that having all the candy around was a temptation that I just didn’t need. I was a little nervous about my decision, until my first trick-or-treater ran back to his dad and said, “Cool! A slinky!” Last year, a group of girls even told my husband that she looked forward to the “rubber duckie house” every year. Somehow, I resisted the opportunity to say I told you so.
Oriental Trading Company sells inexpensive toys, stickers, rubber duckies, mini games and even temporary tattoos (for children you know well). Another easily available non-food option is mini cans of Play-Doh, BUT remember that Play Doh has gluten, so if you play, wash your hands very thoroughly! Some are more expensive than candy, but it depends on how you look at it. When you average in the bag of candy you bought on sale in September (and ate), the one in mid-October (which vanished as well) and the one you had to run out at the last minute and buy, it evens out in the end.
Of course I have great memories eating excessive quantities of candy on Halloween as a little kid. There’s nothing wrong with that on occasion, and yet non-food treats can give a little more balance. There are also healthier/gluten-free/allergen free treats, like the mini Larabars, all fruit leathers and a variety of allergen friendly treats including ones from Enjoy Life, Yummy Earth gummy bears, Envirokidz mini-bars etc., too.
Of course, for the more traditional route, 2012 Halloween Candy lists are HERE
And, BTW, above is a picture of me with the big pumpkin I grew in my very own pumpkin patch, which you can just see on the left of the pic!
Tips for Enjoying Halloween with Food Restrictions
- Talk to teachers and friends about focusing parties around activities (like pumpkin carving, apple bobbing, costume contest) rather than just trick or treating.
- Get prepared! Figure out what candies are safe for your child. 2012 Halloween Candy lists are HERE. There are also many products through Enjoy Life Foods www.enjoylifenb.com that cater to a variety of allergies and intolerances.
- Pre-stock your Halloween bag with foods that are ‘legal’ for your child (and/or you) so that you can safely snack along the way.
- Stash safe bags of candy at friend’s houses for your child.
- Have a trade in. Your child can trade the “problem” candies and treats for “safe” treats, or games, prizes, special outings, etc. You can either stash the “problem” candy somewhere out of reach, or donate it to the foodbank.
- Plan ahead! When possible, look online for favorite candies and snacks and see if they are gluten-free. Some treats that are normally gluten-free or allergen free have different ingredients in the special holiday versions, so always double check.
- Gina Clowes of Allergy Moms has a great list and tips, too.
- Kids with Food Allergies has a great resource for safe Halloween activities, games, tips, etc. Although it’s not directed at people avoiding gluten, a lot of the strategies are the same.
How does YOUR family handle Halloween? Feel free to share tips in the comments section!
Start planning ahead for the holidays:
I know it’s only October, but it’s a good time to start thinking about the holidays. You can make life easier by just making sure you/your hostess knows ahead of time and buys a gluten-free turkey. FINALLY, almost all un-stuffed, plain turkeys are gluten-free nowadays! Here is the Turkey List for 2011
News and Events:
- PLEASE consider signing a petition for gluten-free labeling. If the White House does not receive the necessary 25,000 signatures, they won’t read it.
- Kale! I was quoted in the Washington Post on my very favorite veggie, and why it’s one of the very best veggies to eat. The picture s of the babies in my garden right now.
- DC Metro Area Celiac Association Meeting Topic: “Adolescents and Young Adults with Celiac Disease & Gluten Free Travel” Meeting Date: Saturday, November 17, 2012, 2:00–4:00 pm
- Speaker: Aaron Rakow, PhD (Clinical Psychologist), a team member of the Celiac Disease Program at Children’s National Medical Center, will discuss Children’s National’s new program, “Celiac Disease Group Therapy for Kids,” and how it is geared to help adolescents and young adults with their psychological needs. tinyurl.com/96jst37.
- Location: Tenley-Friendship Public Library
- 4450 Wisconsin Ave. N.W., Washington, DC 20016
Cheryl Harris, MPH, RD is a Registered Dietitian, Nutritionist and Certified Wellness Coach in Fairfax & Alexandria, VA. Cheryl works with people to feel and look their best with a range of specialties, including Celiac Disease, food allergies, pregnancy, breastfeeding, vegetarian and vegan diets, preventing diseases and “whole foods” eating. Let’s get you on your way to achieving your goals. Email her or call 571-271-8742.