Wow, it’s that time of year again! Pretty soon kids will be at your door yelling “trick-or-treat”. Why not give them a real treat this year and not a trick – harmful candy?
As a kid, I remember running up and down the streets of our neighborhood begging for candy on Halloween night. It’s not that I enjoyed all of the candy (I’m actually a salty lover over chocolate), but I enjoyed the game of it. How many bags could I fill up? I remember filling up a bag, running home, dumping the candy on our floor and running back out again to collect some more. There was also the challenge of finding which houses were giving out unique gifts instead of candy, or the houses which were actually giving out the large candy bars instead of the bite size ones.
Once the night was done, my brother and I would sit on our living room floor with our piles of candy in front of us. My parents would look through the candy to make sure there wasn’t any evidence of it being opened or tampered with. Then, being the big sister that I was, I would unfairly trade my brother for candy. You see Milky Ways, M&Ms and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups ranked much higher than Smarties and Jelly Beans. I also wasn’t in the mood for sharing too much with my parents. I let my brother do that.
Once I had all of my candy, I would take it up to my room and stash it in a drawer. I knew that a lot of candy wasn’t healthy for you, so I would usually take out and eat one piece every few days. The years went on and I would continue to stash my candy in different areas. Many times, I would forget about the candy altogether. Then it came time for me to move out of my parents house. I remember my dad finding my stash of old candy. He couldn’t believe it! Yes, call me the candy hoarder! Fortunately, I got over that habit and didn’t continue it after I moved out.
Enough of the trip down memory lane…
Halloween Candy is Scarier Today
Back when I was growing up in the 80s, we didn’t have to worry as much about food allergies or GMOs. However, we should have been more concerned with all of the high fructose corn syrup and other chemicals ingredients added to the processed food.
Today, as genetically modified ingredients run rampant and food allergies continue to increase (see a correlation, I’m just sayin’), more and more parents are having to really monitor what their children are eating.
Gluten-free Halloween Candy Resources
If you have a child with allergies or gluten sensitivity, here are some resources to help you this Halloween:
The Celiac Disease Foundation has put together a list of gluten-free candy for 2015. You can download the list of gluten-free candy here. This list also mentions other highly allergenic ingredients. Remember, with any food product, it’s best to call the manufacturer directly to see if any of their ingredients have changed.
I also want to remind you about the Teal Pumpkin project. It was started by Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE). The Celiac Foundation is supporting them this year. By posting a Teal Pumpkin sign on your door, you are informing children that you are providing non-food treats for those with food allergies.
More Than Just Gluten Hiding in Candy
Hershey also has their own list of gluten-free candy. When you’re on the Hershey website, be sure to take a look at all of the ingredients in the candy. Let’s take a look at Reese’s Pieces for example. Even though the candy doesn’t have gluten, it sure has other problem ingredients. Here are just a few of them:
- Hydrogenated vegetable oil
- Corn syrup
- Lecithin (soy)
- Yellow 5; Yelow 6; Red 40; Blue 1
Hydrogenated oil harbors saturated fat. Both corn and soy are two of the top GMO grown crops in the U.S. And artificial colors are linked to hyperactivity.
If you are planning to pass out candy this year, I would recommend passing out candy that is organic, or at least states that it’s non-GMO. Some of the brands you should be able to find at “natural” grocery stores are Justin’s, Unreal, or YumEarth.
If you would like to pass out something other than candy, here are some alternative suggestions.
Enjoy making healthy memories this year!