Halloween – a time for fun, friends, creativity, and imagination. I remember running with my friends through our neighborhood and screaming “trick or treat” when we reached the front doors of all the lit up houses with pumpkins. There was always a few houses that were totally decked out in scary scenes with skeletons, creepy sounds, and moving objects. These places always made us screech to a halt before proceeding. This is when we used our incredible and developing decision making skills (a.k.a. “rock, paper, scissors”) to determine who was the lucky (or rather, unlucky!) person to approach the door first! Thankfully, we always made it out alive and able to tell our parents how incredibly brave we were.
It’s kind of funny how the entire time I was out with my friends, I really could have cared less about the actual candy. I was too focused on the great times we were having together and the fact we were allowed to be out in the dark without a parent. But as soon as I walked into my house, my focus changed and it was all about how much candy I got compared to my siblings and who could eat the most before being sick. Sadly, as the youngest of four kids, I never had the most candy until I was the only one young enough in my house who could trick or treat! Thankfully, I have since gotten over this sad period of my life. 🙂
Anyhow, moving right along…before we could dive into our well-deserved stash, my parents always checked it over to ensure it was safe for us to eat. Though now that I’m a parent, I realize it wasn’t only about safety, it was also about getting a few things for themselves too!!
Now that I have a child who has celiac, safety takes on a totally different meaning. I still need to check for the usual safety things – open or punctured packages, and homemade goodies (though these are probably the best tasting items in the bag, if we don’t know who made them, sadly they get composted 🙁 ). But now, I also need to check for gluten.
Thankfully, there are lots of online resources available to help you and I with this new task including the following links:
MyGlutenFacts.com – this is a searchable list of products for either the United States or Canada.
Celiacdisease.about.com – this list is organized by the name of the candy maker and mostly focuses on U.S. producers.
Celiac Support Association – along with candy, this list also includes baking supplies and tips for handling Halloween including while at school.
Just a word of caution, while these and other available resources are fantastic, always trust your intuition and err on the side of caution if you aren’t confident in a particular product.