Staying Safe on Halloween – Beyond Stranger Danger | Rachel Begun, MS, RD


Image: Salvatore Vuono /

Halloween can be scary for more reasons than strangers, mischief and goblins. For families with celiac disease and food allergies, Halloween candy can be a real nightmare. An allergic reaction is scarier than any haunted house or scary movie. According to The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network, food allergies result in over 300,000 ambulatory-care visits by children every year. And while gluten ingestion incidents aren’t necessarily reported, I would have to imagine there are plenty of children who accidentally ingest gluten on Halloween.

No child should be excluded from the spooky festivities. Planning ahead can help kids enjoy Halloween to the fullest without feeling limited by their allergies and intolerances. By creating a plan together, parents and kids can agree to a Halloween celebration that everyone can feel good about. Depending on what your kids like to do, there is a safe way to do it.


  • Plan trick-or-treating – limit ringing doorbells to trusted homes in your neighborhood and bring those neighbors a safe treat for them to give your child. Describe the child’s costume and who will be accompanying them so they give the treat of choice to the right ghost or goblin.


  • Play let’s make a deal – does your child have a toy or a book they really want? They’ll be excited to trade in the Halloween candy they collect for that brand new game they’ve been wanting. What a deal, candy runs out, toys don’t!


  • Do the monster mash – most kids will jump at the opportunity to have their friends over for a costume party. And you’ll feel good knowing you have control of serving food that is allergen and gluten free and safe for all.


  • Teach an eyeball for an eyeball – piece by piece, trade your kids’ questionable Halloween candy for a safe treat they can eat.  As they trade the candy they can’t eat for the varieties they can eat, they’ll learn which treats are safe.


Image: Stuart Miles /

No matter what you and your child decide to do, it will surely become a safe and enjoyable Halloween tradition they look forward to for years to come.  

For children with food allergies, be sure they carry their EpiPen® with them and have their food allergy management plan in place.  Here are additional ideas for events to do in lieu of trick-or-treating.

For children with celiac disease, there aren’t food labeling guidelines in place just yet, making it difficult to know which candy varieties you can trust.  Here is a website that lists the safe candy varieties.

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5 Responses to Staying Safe on Halloween – Beyond Stranger Danger

  1. Great information and tips for this time of year. I have put a link to your post onto my blog for my readers. Happy Halloween!

  2. Pingback: Hypoglycemia Dieting: It’s Halloween Time Again

  3. Pingback: A Healthy, Happy Halloween

  4. Pingback: Staying Safe on Halloween – Beyond Stranger Danger | CookingPlanet

  5. Dinesh says:

    This is my third Christmas with Celiac. I need some new ideas to keep my meals fresh and iiterestnng. New cookbooks would go a long way toward meeting that goal.

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