Yes, it’s happened again. Halloween is nearly upon us! If you haven’t procured your GF goodies yet, read on…!
At first glance, you might think most candy is gluten-free, but not so fast! Many forms of confections actually have gluten as filler or to give substance to extruded shapes. Twizzlers, for example, are not gluten-free. Nor are malted milkballs or candy bars containing rice crisps (Nestle Crunch — rice crisps are flavored with barley malt) or those with cookies inside (like Twix).
Run-of-the-mill chocolate should be gluten-free, but if it’s contaminated in the plant, then of course, it’s not. New this year, Hershey’s® published a thorough gluten-free products list – check it out!
Most candy companies are putting their allergen information on their websites, you just have to look for it. Of course, the best gluten-free Halloween candy shopping experience comes when these companies go to the trouble of telling you right on the package that their products are gluten free. That’s one reason why Marshmallow Peeps are filling my candy bowl this year.
Right on the package of the ”Chocolate Mousse Flavored Marshmallow Cats” my 7 year old so plaintively begged me to buy, was the bolded declaration “Gluten Free” that I have come to love!
Even Jet-Puffed Marshmallows are getting into the fun this year by offering Halloween shaped marshmallows in “Spooky Fun Packs.” I know it’s just a marshmallow in the shape of a pumpkin, but I’m not complaining about having fun new choices!
Mind you, I’m not a candy buyer any other time of the year — I’ve been known to hand out more than my share of stickers and playdoh when kids come knocking on October 31 – but when companies take the trouble to assure me that they have made their product gluten-free (and therefore, that they want my business) I’ll give it to them any day before I would other companies who cannot bother to prevent cross-contamination or take the risk to state that their product is gluten-free when it really is.
The bottom line is that there are plenty of gluten and even allergy-free choices to make your Halloween tasty, sticky and fun without being scared about whether they contain ingredients that would make your night go sour. Even those sugar-high-averse parents among us can feel safe grabbing new Angie’s Kettle Corn Snack Packs (certified GF!) or Pirate’s Booty Bags.
To make the task of finding the right treats for your family easy-breezy, my friend Alison over at SureFoodsLiving compiles a comprehensive list of gluten and allergen-free candies to make your Halloween a treat (her latest list is from 2011). Have a look at her list and compare it against the food restrictions you follow, and I think you’ll find there are candy choices to spare! NFCA also published a great safe list this year, as did About.com. GlutenFreeVille has a fun post on some other great Halloween ideas – edible and otherwise — as well as great Halloween food safety tips to keep in mind.
To hear my interview with Alison about navigating Halloween with food allergies and celiac disease, and about how she’s compiled her incredible list, listen to the free podcast anytime!
Print a list, hit the stores, and enjoy the spirit of the holiday! Grab that York Peppermint Patty, Angies’ Kettle Corn Snack Pack, Mr. Goodbar, Marshmallow Peep, Hershey’s Pumpkin Spice Kiss … or whatever suits your fancy. Happy Haunting!