Now that we live in a very neighborhoody area of Chicago, my kids really look forward to trick-or-treating. But there is a big Halloween hassle factor. I could do without all the extra sweets and the frustration of figuring out what candy is gluten free and what is not, let alone dealing with food at Halloween parties.
When my daughter was younger, we tried to trade her Halloween candy for a toy. She welcomed the toy, but a day later she was crying for the candy because she didn’t really get the concept that “trading in” meant permanently giving up the candy. These days, she’s pretty amenable to disposing of gluten-containing candies or trading them with her non-celiac sister. She knows she has much more candy than she’ll ever eat anyway.
I get frustrated with candy companies that refuse to print gluten-free lists and instead tell customers to look on the label. I’m sorry, but when we are trick-or-treating or getting a birthday goodie bag with candy, the individual pieces of candy usually don’t have a full ingredient list. I wish these companies would serve their customers, instead of their corporate lawyers.
When searching the Web to find out if a candy is gluten-free, make sure you are looking at gluten-free lists from the most recent year, as ingredients do change. The best source of information is always the candy label — even if you have to go to the drug store to look up labels. Also, be sure to check labeling to see if items are made in shared facilities or on shared equipment as items containing gluten. For instance, Brach’s candies, Palmer chocolates and Russell Stover chocolates all say that their candies are produced in facilities that handle wheat.
These blogs have thorough lists of gluten-free and allergy-free candy. I am grateful for their research.
Gluten-Free Candy Lists:
Sure Foods Living Allergen-Free and Gluten-Free Halloween Candy List 2011
Sure Foods Living Gluten-Free Halloween Candy Quick List 2011
Jen Cafferty at GFreeLife’s 2011 Halloween Gluten Free Candy List
Celiac Family: Safe Gluten-Free Halloween Candy (2010)
2012 Update: Check out the extensive 2012 Gluten-Free Halloween Candy List from the awesome Jen Cafferty at gfreelife.com.
Here is my own shorter list of items that are NOT gluten-free. This is not an exhaustive list, and there are other candies that are also NOT gluten-free. But I find this list to be useful, as you can steer your child away from selecting the following candies from a trick-or-treat bowl. Of course, you still need to check every piece of candy to make sure it IS gluten-free, but here are some candies you should definitely keep away from.
Candy that is NOT Gluten-Free
Gluten-Free Nosh, 10/2011
- NOT GLUTEN-FREE 3 Musketeers Truffle Crisp Bar (Regular 3 Musketeer bars ARE gluten-free)
- NOT GLUTEN-FREE Airheads Xtremes (Airheads Bars and Airheads Bars Sour do not contain gluten, but are produced in a facility that uses wheat.
- NOT GLUTEN-FREE Butterfinger Crisp, Butterfinger Giant Bar, Butterfinger Snackerz, Butterfinger Medallions, Butterfinger Jingles, Butterfinger Hearts, Butterfinger Pumpkins (Regular Butterfinger Bars ARE gluten-free)
- NOT GLUTEN-FREE Good & Plenty, Good & Fruity
- NOT GLUTEN-FREE Haribo Black Licorice Wheels, Red Licorice Wheels, Sour S’ghetti, Fruity Pasta, Brixx
- NOT GLUTEN-FREE Kit Kat
- NOT GLUTEN-FREE Krackle
- NOT GLUTEN-FREE Most Lindt chocolates (although Lindt white chocolate and extra dark chocolate –70% cocoa and above–do not contain barley malt)
- NOT GLUTEN-FREE M&M’s Pretzel
- NOT GLUTEN-FREE Milky Way Bar (Milky Way Midnight Bar and Milky Way Simply Caramel ARE gluten-free)
- NOT GLUTEN-FREE Nestle Crunch
- NOT GLUTEN-FREE Pringles
- NOT GLUTEN-FREE ReeseSticks Wafer Bar and Reese’s Snack Barz (Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups ARE gluten-free, though not necessarily the special-shaped Reese’s)
- NOT GLUTEN-FREE Rice Krispies Treats Mini Squares
- NOT GLUTEN-FREE Take 5
- NOT GLUTEN-FREE Twix
- NOT GLUTEN-FREE Twizzlers (most licorice contains gluten)
- NOT GLUTEN-FREE Whatchamacallit
- NOT GLUTEN-FREE Whoppers
- NOT GLUTEN-FREE Wonka Bar, Wonka Oompa