Want to know what gluten-free Halloween candy you or your kid can eat? Halloween is such a fun holiday for kids but can quickly be scary for those with celiac.
Especially if you’re navigating Halloween with a celiac kid. How do you make sure your kid doesn’t get glutened? How do you make sure your kid feels included? What candies are actually gluten-free? We’ll be covering all of that in this post!
Written by Sierra King, revised by Tayler Silfverduk, RDN
DISCLAIMER: While this post is a great starting place on determining the safety of gluten-free Halloween candy, it is not to take the place of your own individual research. Please do your own due diligence when determining the appropriateness of candy for you and your child. The food industry can change quickly.
Making sure your kid is only eating gluten-free Halloween candy is a great way to keep them save. Even though this is a great list to go by to keep your kids safe when they are trick or treating, it is not to substitute doing your own due diligence in determining the suitability of products for your child.
If you are not sure if a Halloween candy is gluten-free, feel free to sign up for my FREE label-reading class to learn how to know if it is okay.
If you still aren’t sure, it’s okay to put it aside and give your kids another type of candy.
Another fun idea is to have your kids trade in any gluten-filled candy for a fun prize or small gift.
If your family decides not to trick or treat, then use it as a family night. Make it a movie or game night to spend time with your family. Serve up some yummy popcorn or your own safe candy.
When it comes to educating your kids on making sure they only eat safe gluten-free Halloween candy, it can be hard to know what to say. Below are some ideas on how help build you child’s understanding of needing to be careful with the candy they collect on Halloween.
Age 0-4: Some candies make your stomach hurt.
Age 5-6: Some candies have gluten in them, which can upset your stomach.
Age 7-12: Some candies have gluten in them and can hurt your stomach. Let’s go through your candy pile together before you start eating it.
Age 13+: Some candies contain gluten in them, can you please go through your candy pile when you get home so we can trade in the gluten-filled ones for gluten-free ones.
But what if you do your best to make sure you kid gets gluten-free Halloween candy and they still get glutened? If your child gets glutened on Halloween remind your child (and yourself) that it is okay.
Getting glutened happens and we can’t reverse it, all we can do is learn from the mistake and move on. You might tell your kid “Some candy might make your tummy hurt, we learned today that (insert candy here) is on of those candies. We’ll be careful next year to find other candy options.”
As for remedying the gluten exposure, unfortunately the only thing you can do is help them self-sooth. Consider having a relaxing movie night with them. Have them change into some comfy clothes and maybe snuggle up under a heated blanket, bottle, or pad to ease a bloated and hurting tummy.
I like suggesting Warmies for kids because they invite a positive element to a sucky experience. (If you’re not familiar, Warmies are stuffed animals that you microwave and they serve as a heating pad you can snuggle).
You might also consider serving tea and water to keep your kid hydrated and to calm their stomach. Have easy-to-digest foods on hand since you might not be sure how long the symptoms will last. If they have school the next day, you may consider allowing them to stay home to have an extra rest day.
Check out this post for more on what to do when you’ve been glutened.
Lastly, before we get into which Halloween candy is gluten-free, I want to introduce to you the Teal Pumpkin Project.
The Teal Pumpkin Project is an initiative of people who provide non-food treats on Halloween. You can identify houses that do this by teal pumpkins outside their house.
The teal pumpkin signifies that the person has non-food treats available to include trick-or-treaters with dietary restrictions. This includes keeping kids with celiac safe.
This is an app and website is great for anyone who is looking for a haunted house, candy and even houses that are taking part in the Teal Pumpkin Project.
This is great because you can put your city or area code and it will give you a map of what you’re looking for. The candy corn represents fun sweets, the haunted house represents a haunted house and the teal pumpkins represent a house that is handing out non food items. It is a perfect app for all your family needs.
Now that we have resources for managing Halloween with celiac kids, let’s talk about what kind of Halloween candy is gluten-free. First, let’s talk about how to identify gluten in candy and then let’s dive into the common candy brands and their gluten-free Halloween candies.
Let’s talk about how to check food labels for gluten, specifically how to check candy labels for gluten.
First you want to check and see if the candy has a gluten-free claim on it. If you see “gluten-free” written anywhere, that means this candy per FDA law must have <20ppm of gluten and thus be celiac-safe.
If you see a gluten-free claim, you can stop here and enjoy the candy. If you don’t see a gluten-free claim, you will want to look for gluten containing ingredients.
Some common gluten ingredients in candy include:
You also want to check for ingredients that may contain gluten, like natural flavors. If you see natural flavors on a candy that’s not labeled gluten-free, contact the manufacturer to check on it’s gluten-free status.
If you don’t see any gluten containing ingredients in the ingredients label, it should be safe. But if you’re in doubt, just pick a candy you know is safe.
For more practice and guidance with identifying gluten on a food label in the USA, check out this FREE training where I’ll break the process down into 4 simple steps!
Mars Halloween candies are not all gluten-free. Mars does not contain a gluten-free candy list but they do specify that they will “always declare the presence of any of the top 8 allergens whenever they are part of the recipe regardless of the source”.
However, that would only include wheat but not barley or rye, as barley and rye are not top 8 allergens. If you’re concerned about the safety of the Mars candy, feel free to call them at 800-627-7852 with questions.
Candy that is considered gluten-free from Mars include:
Candy that is NOT gluten-free from Mars include: crispy M&Ms, regular Milk Way Bars, Cinnamon Graham and Cookies and Cream Dove Milk Chocolates, and Mars Bars.
Next, let’s explore the Hershey Halloween candy. Hershey labels their products as gluten-free when they are gluten-free but you can also determine if many products are gluten-free by reading the label. Below are the candies made by Hershey that are considered gluten-free.
Yes, even the seasonal-shaped Hershey’s products, like Reese’s pumpkins can be gluten-free. When contacting Hershey they stated that this product did not contain gluten ingredients and when processing, should these shapes be made on equipment that had gluten on it, they have cross-contact protocols to prevent contamination. Read more about this here.
For questions about Hershey’s Candy call 1-800-468-1714.
Many Halloween candies from Nestle will have a “gluten-free claim” meaning it meets FDA safety standards for celiac. Additionally, other candies may be gluten-free but not have the claim which is why it’s always important to read the ingredients. Also note, Ferrara now owns Nestle’s candy division.
Gluten-Free Nestle Candies include:
The following Nestle Candies are not safe (not an all-inclusive list):
For questions about Nestle candies call 1-800-225-2270.
Want to know if any Ferrara Halloween candies are gluten-free? Ferrara makes the daredevil candies like fireballs and jawbreakers. They don’t make claims about their products so read the ingredient labels and make your own informed decision. Below are candies that are assumed to be gluten-free based on the ingredients:
For any questions about Ferrara candies, call 1-800-323-1768.
As for gluten-free Halloween candy from Tootise… Drum roll please… All Tootsie candies are gluten-free!!! Yay! For questions about Tootsie candies call 1-773-838-3400.
Halloween is a time to be scared but fearing for your child’s safety is not necessarily… Halloween vibes.
Keep your celiac kid safe this Halloween by teaching them to wait and check their candy before eating it. And if you’re not sure if a Halloween candy is gluten-free, it’s okay to swap it out for something that you know is safe.
And should your worst nightmare become reality and your child get glutened on Halloween night, don’t panic. Stay calm, help your kid soothe any symptoms, learn from your mistake and move on.