My kids have been anticipating Halloween night for a couple of weeks now, each day with an estimation of the days 'til Halloween — we'll go from 20 days away to 15 days away to tomorrow — almost overnight. But that doesn't matter, when the day hits, we'll all know it.
The mounds of candy the little munchkins collect is enough to choke a dead horse. ( <<< That's a saying from my past. Do people still say that?)
But besides choking a dead horse, the candy that enters my home presents a slightly deeper issue in a house that has multiple food allergies for adults and children alike — namely gluten, dairy and corn.
Mainstream Halloween candy sans gluten, dairy and corn is hard to find. Actually, it's impossible to find. I know it's possible to find some items that are both gluten and dairy free, but not corn free as well. Almost every single item at the bottom of those plastic orange pumpkins will contain corn syrup. (Unless the old lady next door dropped a penny in the bucket. But that's a different story entirely.) What to do? What to do?
In the past, we've shot from the hip to make our best guesses about potential allergens in the candy. That said, we all agree to let the corn thing slide for just the evening, knowing full well that adverse health reactions will likely result in the morning. And every year, just days after Halloween, we find ourselves managing a decently sized allergic reaction. What to do? What to do?
After all the trick-or-treating is complete on Monday night, we'll come back to the warmth of our living room to do The Great Candy Swap. This was always my favorite part of the whole Halloween experience. Trading candy with my brother on the dining room floor of our 100 year-old spooky Victorian house would leave me with great satisfaction over securing the bestest of the best in miniature sugar bombs. I don't want to deprive my children of this most grand experience. We need to have fun with the trick-or-treating and mitigate our risks at the same time. What to do? What to do?
Preparedness. Preparedness is the answer. Or at least I think it might be the answer. I'll let you know how it all works out on November 2nd.
The quest to achieve preparedness has lead me to research. Research is the answer. Or at least I think it will be the answer.
So I took to the world wide webs in an effort to have a "sugar bomb plan" come 8pm on Halloween night.
This is what I found to be most helpful:
Jane Anderson, the Celiac Disease Guide at About.com, has done a nice job of outlining all of the mainstream gluten-free candies we can expect to see in our children's orange plastic buckets. Her list was updated in October 8, 2011. Thank you, Jane.
Taking it a step further, Alison St. Sure at Sure Foods Living has put together a comprehensive list of the top 8 allergen ingredients in (most) mainstream candies. I'm really diggin' this list because I can easily reference an item and determine if it contains the specific allergen I need to know about. Thanks to all of Alison's hard work, this list is easy-to-read and print ready, albeit long. I plan to print this list out and highlight the items that work for us. I'm going to post it on my front door, back door, chicken coop, kitchen cabinets and above my bed for quick reference. Not really. But maybe if I did, this great info would enter through osmosis and save me some time as we prepare for this busy day.
The gluten-free dairy-free candy I'm most looking forward to this year... Airheads. Children, guard your buckets. Goodness, I think I might be an addict. Someone save me.