It’s that time again – another holiday that seems to be entirely focused on CANDY!!! A lot of the same tricks that got us through Easter will help us enjoy Halloween, but it does come with its own special challenge: Trick-or-Treating!
Is the Candy Safe?The first thing to decide is whether or not your kids are going to eat the candy. If you are mostly concerned about gluten or a particular allergen, there are lists available telling which candies are safe. Here is one from Celiac Family that lists gluten-free Halloween candy that may show up in your kids’ baskets.
An important thing to know is that often “fun size” (and “king size”) versions of candies have different ingredients or are processed in different facilities than the regular size versions! Unfortunately, the ingredients and allergy statements of “fun size” candies are usually found on the outer bag rather than the individual candies. You may want to check with the manufacturers to make sure familiar candies are still safe!
Eat the Candy?If eating candy is something you think won’t cause your kids permanent damage, you may want to just let them go ahead and gorge on Halloween like all the other kids. My personal experience is that it’s better to have one big lapse on GAPS than to string it out for weeks or months. If your kids get to have a candy a day after halloween and there are good reasons they aren’t eating candy in the first place, they’ll be derailing their healing for a long period of time, not to mention getting addicted. Picky eating habits will come back and you’ll likely find yourself back at square one.
Here’s what Roxanne had to say on our facebook page:
I like to let my boys go trick or treating and then they are allowed to eat as much candy as they want until they get sick – which reinforces what I’m always telling them that candy makes them sick, lol! The rest of the candy then goes bye bye.
Our family has decided not to eat the candy… well, maybe a piece or two of the gluten-free candy will get eaten. But we don’t want to gorge, we don’t want to feel sick, and we don’t want to get re-addicted to sugar and other processed crap!
What to do with the candy?If you’re not going to eat the candy, you’ve got a couple choices – one is not to have it in the first place. Instead of trick or treating, you can host a Halloween party with treats like honey sticks or homemade caramel apples. Play games, watch a spooky movie, and tell scary stories around a camp fire.
For trick or treaters that come to your door, you can have healthier alternatives or toys available.
Here’s what Amy had to say on our facebook page:
But when Halloween falls in the middle of the week a party isn’t always practical. Our kids will be having a backyard camping party this weekend, but come Wednesday you know they’ll want to go trick-or-treating! Younger kids may be able to be distracted, but at 12 and 13, the kids know what’s up and want to go out, fill a pillowcase with candy, and check out the haunted houses!
We just can’t trick or treat. My kids can’t handle the temptation and will not let them eat crap commercial candy. What is supposed to be a fun, kid centered holiday turns into a nightmare. Last year we handed out candy at home and to my shock and delight the kids LOVED it. This year we are going to make a not very haunted house out of an easy up canopy and black sheets. The kids are going to be inside, dressed up passing out candy. I do pass out crap candy though. We have one of those neighborhoods that gets hundreds of trick or treaters and we can’t afford anything but the cheapest candy. I will have a bag ready for my kids this year with with safe treats and prizes.
Last year was the first year we let them go out by themselves. That is a huge right of passage for a tween kid that they didn’t want to miss! So they got dressed up, went out on the early side, and made a haul! (They had the option of going out again after bringing the candy back.)
Then, we turned right around and handed that candy out to the neighbor kids who came by, and finally left a bowl on the porch for whoever wanted to raid it. Unfortunately, there was still candy left over.
Plenty of kids won’t happily give up the candy they collect. In the past we’ve paid the kids money for their candy. A typical amount to pay is $1/lb. You can get creative, though. Some parents bake special halloween treats to swap out for the candy, or offer up a special privilege, outing, or a new video game.Many dentists’ offices collect Halloween candy through the Halloween Candy Buy Back, which sends the candy as part of care packages to troops serving overseas. We had planned to give our left over candy away through one of these programs, but it sat in our house too long and started to dominate my thoughts like sugar does. So I ended up sticking it in the trash with dog poo on top so that I wouldn’t dive back in for it!
If you don’t want anyone to eat it, you can get creative and turn it into art! Here’s an idea Karen shared on our facebook page:
We save it all and use it to decorate a regular gingerbread house for a yearly contest, then display the house. Since it is not GF we can’t eat it, but we can enjoy looking at it thru the holiday season.
Enjoy the SeasonThere’s more to Halloween than just the trick or treating and the candy, though. It’s a time to celebrate the harvest and fall. Plenty of traditional Halloween activities are still there to enjoy. Our family makes an annual trip to a local farm for the corn maze, petting zoo, pumpkin patch, hay ride, and more!
We remember to have some high value snacks on hand, though, since they’ve always got treats we don’t eat for sale.
I hope you all have a happy, safe, spooky Halloween!
For more on supporting your kids on special diets at the holidays and every day, check out these posts:
- Empowering Kids On Special Diets
- Empowering Kids Part 2: A Fresh Start
- Empowering Kids Part 3: Make It Easy
- Empowering Kids Part 4: On Their Own
- Easter Bunny Blues
- The Holidays
This post is part of Seasonal Celebration, Monday Mania, Fat Tuesday, Traditional Tuesday, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Gluten-Free Wednesdays, Wheat Free Wednesdays, Real Food Wednesday, Cybele Pascal.