With Halloween right around the corner, what do you do if your little pumpkin is gluten-free? Well, there’s no need to fright—these tricks will keep superheroes and princesses alike safe and happy on All Hallow’s Eve.
Make a Game Plan
During the weeks leading up to Halloween, as your child selects her Halloween costume, talk about eating gluten-free on Halloween night, as well as at parties leading up to the holiday. Propose a few strategies, but let her be a part of the conversation:
• Agree that no Halloween candy will be eaten while trick-or-treating, unless mom or dad has checked the label first—the Celiac Disease Foundation’s 2015 Gluten-free candy list is a great reference
• Bring gluten-free snacks for trick-or-treating:*
- Annie’s Homegrown Fruit Snacks
- Snyder’s of Hanover Gluten-Free Mini Pretzels
- Nestle Raisinets
- Homemade Roasted Pumpkin Seeds (look out for our next post with the recipe!)
• Trade gluten-containing candy at home for gluten-free treats
• Donate gluten-containing candy to an organization that sends care packages to troops or veterans such as Operation Shoebox or Operation Gratitude
• Enlist the Switch Witch, who magically leaves a gift in return for candy on Halloween night
• Out of sight, out of mind—keep the stash out of immediate view, and distribute 1-2 pieces of candy each day only after kids have had a nutritious snack
Spread the Word
• Tell neighbors and your child’s school about the Teal Pumpkin Project, started by the Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) organization! The organization encourages households to include all kids, no matter what food allergy they may have, to participate in trick-or-treating by placing a teal painted pumpkin outside, meaning they have non-food treats such as:
- Playing cards
- Mini Slinkies
- Glow bracelets
• FARE’s website includes free downloadable flyers to advertise the Teal Pumpkin Project in communities
The Bottom Line
Prepare for Halloween and other holidays ahead of time, talk to your family about the best plan for you, and have fun!
*Snacks listed are considered to be gluten-free as of the date of this blog post, but we recommend reviewing food labels to confirm, as manufacturing practices may change. Call manufacturers if you are ever not sure!
To learn more about nutrition and gluten-free foods, join us in the kitchen and get cooking! Through a partnership with the Natural Gourmet Institute, the Sylvia Center and NYU Langone Medical Center’s S.Q.U.A.S.H., and Pediatric Celiac Disease and Gluten Related Disorders Programs, kids learn to make fun, healthy, gluten-free recipes with professional chefs. Our next class, a Mexican fiesta, is on October 14, at 5:30pm. Class is FREE and open to the public for kids ages 7 to 12. Register here!
Jackie Ballou, MS, RD, CDN, is coordinator of Pediatric Nutrition and director of the S.Q.U.A.S.H. Program (Smart choices, Quality ingredients, Unique, Appetizing, Simple & Healthy) at NYU Langone Medical Center.
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At Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone, we understand that caring for infants, children, and teenagers is a special privilege. That’s why we partner with our young patients and their families to offer expert medical and surgical care. Our specialists treat children with conditions ranging from minor illnesses to complex, more serious issues at locations throughout the New York metropolitan area.