Halloween will soon be upon us, with local trick-or-treat nights falling on Friday, October 25; Saturday, October 26; and Thursday, October 31. At this time of year, good neighbors are thinking about ways to provide treats to all trick-or-treaters, even those with food allergies. Some families swap sealed candy containers -- a child with dairy allergies may trade his chocolate bar for a friend's Skittles -- but life is much easier when candy purchasers thoughtfully provide allergen-free treats.
NaturalCandyStore.com is a great source for all types of special candy purchases, from chemical-free to dye-free to allergen-free, and candies are labeled with their potential allergen exposure (or lack thereof). Although the company's website states, "We are a retailer and do not manufacture candy. We cannot be held responsible for the accuracy of any ingredient or nutritional information we provide, nor liable for any adverse reactions caused by the products we sell," the company does sell candies in the categories of vegan, gluten-free, Feingold, GFCF, corn syrup-free, Kosher, and allergen-free. Consumers can view the candy online and make their own decision about its safety based on product labeling.
One example of a candy that is free from the eight major allergens is Surf Sweets organic jelly beans. These beans are sold in one-pound bags as well as individual serving-sized bags -- perfect for Halloween guests. The ingredients listed on the website are: organic evaporated cane juice, organic tapioca syrup, organic grape juice concentrate, pectin, citric acid, ascorbic acid, colors added (black carrot juice concentrate, turmeric, annatto), natural flavors, confectioner's glaze, carnauba wax, organic sunflower oil. Additionally, the manufacturer notes, "Facility does not process any of the eight major allergens (peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, milk, egg, soy, fish, or shellfish/crustaceans)." These jelly beans are vegetarian, but may not be vegan, due to the confectioner's glaze, and although corn is not an ingredient, they may contain trace amounts of corn starch from the molding process. The product is labeled "gluten-free." Of course, food-allergic individuals and their parents should be vigilant and check all labels before consuming any product, as manufacturers may change their processes, but this snack may be a good one for food-allergic consumers to consider.
Consumers who do not have food allergies, but cannot tolerate gluten due to celiac disease or other health issues, may enjoy GoNaturally hard candies. GoNaturally candies come in flavors such as blood orange and pomegranate, contain natural fruit flavors, and are made in a facility that is gluten-free and free from peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, and eggs. Additionally, they are lab-tested to contain less than 10 parts per million (ppm) of gluten. These bite-sized candies are sold individually wrapped in bags of half-pound, two-pound, and five-pound sizes.
For those individuals avoiding candy or concerned about calories, Halloween stickers are always a great option. These "make-a-pumpkin" sheets are sure to put a smile on any trick-or-treater's face! For parents and grandparents looking to give something that will last a little longer than candy -- and won't make the dentist scold -- Lego seasonal toys are a nice change of pace. Just be sure your child is old enough not to put small toys in his mouth -- and keep Lego pieces away from curious pets. Happy Halloween!