For the parents of a gluten-free child, Halloween can be a scary holiday. Everyone seems to be handing out candy and other foods, and it's hard to keep track of what's gluten-free and what's not. Also, parties abound, with the inevitable gluten-filled cakes, cupcakes and other party foods.
What's a parent to do to keep a gluten-free child safe on Halloween?
Fortunately, you have many options. Here's my gluten-free Halloween guide, which includes a list of gluten-free candy, tips you can use before and during Halloween, and some great gluten-free Halloween party recipes. Happy Halloween!
Believe it or not (and sometimes it seems hard for me to believe), many of the candies that appear in my daughter's Halloween basket each year actually are gluten-free. If you take away the obvious cookie-based candy, most are gluten-free.
Of course, there are some old favorites that are NOT gluten-free, as well. You'll need to go through your child's candy stash carefully to weed out the unsafe options.
Many parents of gluten-free children buy extras of a gluten-free favorite, and use them to "trade" with their children come Halloween night (and the days after). That way, your child stays safe but doesn't feel deprived. If you do this, don't hesitate to make the replacement candy something extra-special!
Looking for ways to cope with Halloween — or to help your gluten-free child cope? Some children get upset around Halloween because they're faced with numerous social situations that include foods they cannot enjoy.
How about throwing your own Halloween party? If you control the food, you can make it completely gluten-free ... and that should please your little ghost or goblin. If that's not possible, there are other things you can do, ranging from supplying the food for a school party to focusing the holiday on the costume, not the candy.
A little creativity goes a long way, especially when it comes to soothing potentially bruised feelings. Talk to your child about her Halloween wishes, and go from there.
If you've decided to host a Halloween party, you'll need some gluten-free food ... so here are some scary recipes to try.
Severed Finger Cheese Sticks ought to make a big hit with your creepy crowd, as will Bloody Good Halloween Punch. And don't forget the Deviled Ghoul Eggs!
If you're hosting a smaller get-together, consider making caramel apples. For help on this project, About.com's Guide to Gluten-Free Cooking has a great tutorial on How to Make Homemade Caramel Apples, including a video.
If you're feeling truly adventurous this Halloween, you can try making your own gluten-free candy. About.com's great Guide to Gluten-Free Cooking offers 10 recipes that range from authentic candy corn to meringue ghosts.
Most of these are easy to make (some are easier than others), and all would make for great fun in the kitchen as Halloween approaches.
Who knows? You might find you start a new family tradition: Making gluten-free Halloween candy every year, just like your gluten-free Christmas cookies.