Top of mind right now: costumes, candy and jack-o-lanterns, as Halloween is just around the corner!
I was actually reminded of how close it actually is when I presented at the Celiac Center for Minnesota Monday night. The kids from the Gluten Detectives program worked on a Halloween skit, and then presented it after my talk on #ICDS2013.
The skit showed the kids going door-to-door and trick-or-treating. One girl keeps getting candy that she can’t eat and is getting bummed out. But eventually she swaps out the candy for gluten-free options. It was fun to see the kids role-play a little on this subject.
Gluten Free Candy Management
Many of us have lived this first hand. If you are new to managing a gluten-free Halloween, here are the steps you can take to try and make it as successful as possible.
- Know which candy is gluten free! Check out the Celiac Disease Foundation’s 2013 GF Candy list
- Know your gluten-free child’s favorite candy (it could change from year to year), and keep a stash tucked away
- When your child comes home from trick-or-treating, take out the list and work on separating the safe candy from the unsafe candy (See Emma’s haul in 2007 pictured right).
- Replenish the unsafe candy with their favorite treats from your secret stash. If your child is not that into candy, you could instead swap out the candy for something they would like better, like going to a movie or going to an activity park.
Monday night, Celiac Center of Minnesota Executive Director, Julie Salato, recommended to parents to avoid NOT allowing your children to participate in Halloween. If this decision to not let them go trick-or-treating is based on the gluten-free lifestyle, Salato said trick-or-treating is just one example of a social event they will have to navigate now and in the future. She says it is good to expose them now and help them manage it. I agree. Kids will need to learn how to cope with this holiday, and you may as well start right away so they can be a more capable teenager and adult.
Gluten Free Make-up Management
The candy is the biggest part to Halloween, but you may be wondering about Halloween make-up. Dr. John Zone, Dermatologist at the University of Utah said at the International Celiac Disease Symposium that you don’t need to worry about gluten in make-up because gluten cannot be absorbed through the skin. However, some of that junky make-up is pretty cheap. Gluten free or not, it could easily irritate your skin. Doing an internet search for gluten-free Halloween make-up didn’t yield many hopeful results for me either.
Lipstick is probably the biggest issue here. Red Apple Lipstick and EccoBella can help you with that. A good ol’ fashioned red will be great for costumes like: Madonna, Marilyn Monroe or blood-coming-out-of-the-mouth creepy guy…..
Going to parties like this can be tough. What do you do when an entire party centers around treats — in particular — Halloween!
Here are some quick tips:
- Empower your child to know what is safe to eat and what is not. They should know to politely decline any treats given to them if they aren’t sure they are gluten free. Your child can always bring them home and you can go through them together.
- Send a cupcake. If there is going to be cake (on top of the other candy), send it along so your child can have a treat too.
- Talk to the host parents before the party. Ask what they have purchased for food. If they haven’t purchased the treat candy yet, politely offer suggestions (there are a lot of options — see list above). If it too late for that, send along some candy with your child. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, you could arrange to give the host mom a selection of gluten-free candy for your child before the party, then she could hand it out to your child as their goodie bag– and it’s all safe!
Either way, you can chalk Halloween up to another learning experience when you live gluten-free in a gluten-filled world. If you have any other suggestions for parents, feel free to comment below. Good luck!