Enjoy a safe and allergy-friendly Halloween

October 31, 2023 Providence Health Team

[5 MIN READ]  

In this article:  

  • We offer some ideas for allergy-friendly Halloween candies — both for the kids in your neighborhood and for your own little pumpkins. 

  • Learn how to cut back on the sugar rush by sorting through the candy and giving some of it away. 

  • You don’t have to just give out candy at your house! We have some ideas for other treats you can hand out. 

For many people, Halloween is the most fun night of the year. But it can also be an evening filled with unhealthy choices. Fear not: Providence has got you covered for planning a Halloween that’s allergy-friendly and safe — and that won’t have your kids hyped up on sugar for weeks to come. 

Allergy-friendly Halloween candy 

Whether you’re the parent of a child with food allergies, or just a concerned member of the community who wants your candy to be safe for all, we’ve got the 411 on the best allergy-friendly Halloween treats. Here are some of our top allergy-safe choices (please check the ingredient lists yourself to make sure they are safe for your child): 

  • Smarties – All Smarties products are free from the top allergens — milk, egg, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, soy and sesame. 
  • Swedish fish – This candy is free of dairy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish, sesame and shellfish. 
  • Skittles – This multicolored treat is free of dairy, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soybeans. Though it contains titanium dioxide, it meets the Food and Drug Administration standards for food safety. 
  • Starburst – This candy is free of dairy, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, eggs and wheat. 
  • Sour Patch Kids – This candy is free of peanuts, tree nuts, soy, fish, shellfish, dairy, wheat, sesame and eggs. 
  • Nerds – While Nerds are free of dairy, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts and soy, the packaging states that it may contain traces of egg proteins because of the manufacturing process. 
  • Dots – Not only is this candy free of dairy, fish, shellfish, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, sesame and eggs, but it is manufactured in facilities that are completely peanut-, tree nut- and gluten-free. 

Safety rules 

Before children leave the house to go trick-or-treating, make sure you give them some basic rules that will keep them and their friends safe: 

Wait until they’re home to eat any candy so you can sort and check their goodies first. Throw away any items that aren’t factory-wrapped or that seem suspicious. 

  1. Turn down items that are homemade, such as cookies and brownies. 
  2. Don’t share or taste other kids’ treats while they’re out and about. 
  3. Use sidewalks whenever possible, and always walk in single file when on the road. 
  4. Wear reflective clothing if trick-or-treating after dark. 

Once the treats are home 

Believe it or not, the American Dental Association (ADA) isn’t on a witch hunt to take all the sweet fun out of Halloween. Still, you’ll want to sort out the candy before the kids dig in. That’s one way to safely avoid both allergy problems and gorging on treats. 

Here are some other tips to keep in mind as you’re looking toward the candy-filled days ahead: 

  • Know your sweets. According to the ADA, chocolate candies may be your best bet when it comes to protecting teeth. That’s because chocolate washes off teeth easier than other kinds of candy, such as the sticky, gummy or hard varieties. 
  • Give them to the grownups. Let the kids keep a few favorites, then take the rest to work and leave them in the break room. Or save them up for game nights with friends. 
  • Put them to work for other holidays. Use hard candies to create a fanciful gingerbread dwelling. Or use that extra candy corn as decoration for a Thanksgiving turkey (they make great “feathers”). 
  • “Donate” your candy to science. Fun science experiments, that is! Kids’ endless curiosity often tops the temporary joys of sweets. Head to the Candy Experiments website to get ideas for turning those goodies into great experiments.   
  • Donate your candy for a cause. Here’s a great way to help kids learn about giving and sharing. Together, choose places and programs where the candy will be enjoyed. That includes homeless shelters, nursing homes and programs such as Ronald McDonald House Charities. You can also support our past and present troops by sending sweets to deployed service members and veterans. 

Changing your stash for trick-or treat 

If you want to try something a little more health-conscious this year, here are some alternatives that the kids in the neighborhood will enjoy: 

  • Honey sticks – Honey is still a sweet treat, but its beneficial properties make it a safer bet than rock candy or lollipops. Because the honey is already portion-controlled, you won’t have to worry about kids going overboard. Honey sticks also come in a variety of natural flavors. 
  • Toys – Do you know any kids who love bouncy balls, toy dinosaurs or stickers? Bulk packs can be pretty inexpensive, and these non-food treats will really stand out among a sea of candy wrappers. 
  • Glow bracelets – These are fun on a regular day, but extra fun on Halloween. We have a feeling your neighborhood werewolf will really enjoy lighting up the night with these. 
  • Apple cider – If your neighborhood allows it, set up an apple cider dispenser in your front yard. The warm drink will help keep trick-or-treaters cozy, and apple cider is generally sweet on its own without added sugar. 
  • Slime – Easy to make, this trendy substance is sure to be a hit. Slime is fairly inexpensive to make and can keep kids entertained for hours. Hand out small containers filled with the stretchy, slippery goop and call it a night. 
  • Themed accessories – Head to the party store and grab a bunch of pirate eye patches, flashy costume jewelry and temporary tattoos. These are not only fun, but Halloween goers can mix and match items with their already complete outfits. 
  • Craft supplies – If you want to get a little practical, craft supply stores often sell themed projects like papier-mâché and ghoul-shaped cookie cutters. These sorts of treats can help foster connections during family time and great alternatives to candy. 

Find a doctor 

Looking for more information about your child’s nutrition or food allergies? Talk with a doctor about resources. You can also find a Providence pediatrician by using our provider directory. Or, you can search for a primary care doctor in your area. 

Download the Providence App 

We’re with you, wherever you are. Make the Providence app your personalized connection to your health. Schedule appointments, conduct virtual visits, message your doctor, view your health records and more. Learn more and download the app

Related resources 

Diabetes prevention 

How to diagnose wheat allergies

Are you allergic to certain foods? 

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional’s instructions. 

About the Author

The Providence Health Team brings together caregivers from diverse backgrounds to bring you clinically-sound, data-driven advice to help you live your happiest and healthiest selves.

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