Halloween has always been a beloved holiday for my brothers and me. As a kid, the excitement was palpable as we hurriedly dressed in our costumes after school and waited for the sun to set. We readied our pillow cases (#1: our Mom was smart enough not to waste money on trendy bags we wouldn't use year after year and #2: most importantly - pillow cases fit more candy) and sprint outside once it was dark enough to start trick-or-treating.
This Halloween scene is already painted into your head, before I even tell you that all three of us have severe food allergies. When we were young enough to trick-or-treat, there was no such thing as the Teal Pumpkin Project, a newfound way to let families with food allergies know which houses offer allergy friendly treats and non-food items by having a teal painted pumpkin sitting outside the house. We just ran on pure adrenaline from house to house, trying to be the sibling with the most candy at the end of the night.
The rule in our house was: no opening or eating any candy until we all got home. I think this is a great safety rule for any family, whether there are dietary restrictions or not. At the end of our trick-or-treating route, we all dumped our candy onto the floor and began to sort it into three piles: candy for Conrad, candy for Eric and Tessa and candy for Mom and Dad. This was a way for all of us to get more than enough candy to eat throughout the year, but also a way to make sure each pile was safe and free from our individual allergens. Ultimately, it was a way for us to ensure each sibling wasn't left out by not getting to partake in the Halloween treats.
Fast forward to being a dietitian and you will always see me passing out candy on Halloween. My parents always made sure we safely participated in the fun of holidays without feeling left out for being "different" with food allergies. No kid should ever miss out on the thrill and excitement of Halloween, which in a large part includes the ritual of trick-or-treating and eating some of the candy. It might not mean a lot to you, but for a kid with food allergies who can safely trick-or-treat at your house could mean a world of difference for them. Check out my go-to list of allergy friendly items to hand out this Halloween season below.
Again, they're all bang-up great flavors, as noted in my post on must-have items I packed on my move to South Korea.
Their ricemilk crunch is the bomb and by far my favorite. The only thing that could make it better is a dark chocolate crunch version. Wink, wink, hint, hint.
The classic flavored lollipop with a tootsie roll center that keeps the kids guessing how many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop?
This company is near and dear to my heart not only because they make fantastically smooth bean-to-bar chocolate, but the Ratto family are just as sweet as the confections crafted in their factory. It also just so happens their facilities are completely nut free. Read more about the history of the company here.
These lollipops come in 16 signature flavors plus the elusive mystery flavor. I don't think we've ever been able to guess what it is.
I hope Halloween is as magical for you this year as it always has been for my family. I also encourage you to check out the Teal Pumpkin Project if you would like to make trick-or-treating an inclusive evening of Halloween for all the little ghouls and boos out there. I know candy free of the top 8 allergens still may not be safe for some kids and they include a great list of festive non-food treats you can share. Leave a note with your favorite Halloween treat in the comments below and don’t forget to subscribe to my blog and check in for my regular posts over on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.