Don’t let the gluten-free diet prevent your child from enjoying a Halloween night full of treats.
By Julie Terrana of Best Whole Self
Trick-or-Treating is just around the corner. Whether your child is dressed as a ghost, a witch or a zombie, one of the scariest things they will face on Halloween night is the possibility of eating gluten. But don’t let your child’s gluten-free diet prevent them from enjoying a Halloween night full of treats.
Because many children who have food allergies and special diets cannot eat just any candy given out on Halloween, “The Teal Pumpkin Project” alerts trick-or-treaters if a house is giving out treats other than candy. If you want to participate, all you have to do is place a teal-colored pumpkin or a sign outside your house and offer treats other than Halloween candy. You’ll know it’s a safety zone for your child if you see a teal pumpkin outside of another home.
Avoiding gluten does not have to be a daunting task. If you are afraid that your child will encounter gluten this Halloween, just unveil the M.A.S.K. to have a fun, safe night!
Make Your Own Halloween Treat Bags with Stickers, Glow Sticks, Small Toys or Books
The treats in “Trick-or-Treating” do not have to be candy. Why not provide inexpensive, fun surprises like glow sticks, stickers, or jump ropes to trick-or-treaters? This may also encourage your neighbors to offer healthier options and less candy, which is good for any child.
Ask Your Children to Show You What They Received from Other Houses
Most parents do this to be sure the snacks their children receive weren’t previously opened or damaged, but you have an additional purpose: to read the ingredient labels. After inspection, any candy that contains gluten should be given away or taken to the office to share with co-workers. Your child will likely want to eat all the candy they get, so it’s up to you to determine what’s safe.
Share the Teal Pumpkin Project with Your Neighbors So That They Know to Give Safe Treats
Not everyone is aware of the Teal Pumpkin Project, so send your neighbors a quick email or drop off a flyer telling them what the teal pumpkin on your doorstep means. You can ask them to do the same, or just let them know that your child has celiac disease and politely make suggestions of what they can offer your child on Halloween.
Keep Your Child’s Favorite Gluten-Free Treats at Home In Case You Need to Swap
Every child likes candy, and I am sure your children have some favorites of their own. It’s wise to keep a stash of gluten-free candy that you know they enjoy just in case most of their bag is full of gluten-containing candy they have to give away. You can turn this into a trading game or offer to trade one piece of gluten-free candy for two pieces of their Trick-or-Treating candy to cut down on the sugar your little gluten-free goblins eat.
Have a wonderful and safe Halloween!
Julie is a Certified Health and Wellness Coach in Philadelphia. She has been a volunteer for Beyond Celiac since 2013. Living with Crohn’s Disease, Julie has had a goal to reach remission since 2009. Despite trying numerous medications, she continued experiencing severe flares that led her to being hospitalized and eventually having surgery. In the summer of 2013, Julie went gluten-free and it changed her life. She has since experienced fewer flares and was able to run a half marathon in November 2013. Julie’s journey adjusting to a gluten-free diet has led her to develop a passion for helping others adapt to a similar lifestyle changes. She shows her clients that living with dietary restrictions does not have to be difficult and teaches them to navigate the obstacles of gluten-free living with ease and grace. Physical and emotional health are the main focal points in working with clients, which has led Julie to committing to her motto, “It is not about being skinny. It’s about being your best whole self.”