How to Handle Halloween for Kids with Celiac When most people hear ‘Halloween’, ‘candy’ tends to be a word that follows. But for many kids, in particular those with a celiac disease, Halloween can be tricky.

Janel Steinhoff, RDN, LDN, clinical dietician with the Center for Celiac Disease and the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), shares some tips to help families.

Have a plan

Once the leaves turn, we know that kids can’t wait to put on their costumes and go trick-or-treating. While there are many gluten-free candy options, it’s still important to establish a plan before heading out.

“For example,” says Steinhoff, “a family may consider establishing an exchange program with their child so they can swap their non-gluten free candies for something else when they get home.” That something else could be candies they can eat, toys or a trip to the movies.

For families with younger children, CHOP experts also recommend packing some gluten-free snacks while trick-or-treating. That way, when the temptation to dig into the candy bag arises, they have something to pick on.

Families who want to avoid temptation altogether can host a gluten-free version of a “Trunk or Treat” at a local park or parking lot with friends and family who know which candies are safe to eat.

Check ingredients

Families of kids with celiac disease know how important it is to read labels and check ingredients. When it comes to candy, there are many gluten-free options available. But parents should still make sure to always check the labels and read the ingredients, as seasonal items may vary.

There are also several resources available online to help identify gluten-free candy, like this "Gluten-free Halloween Treats List" from the Celiac Disease Foundation.

Have fun

When people think of Halloween, one of the first things that comes to mind is candy! But we try to remind families that they can still make Halloween fun and memorable by putting the emphasis on other Halloween and fall activities, like painting pumpkins, picking out costumes, hiking, and apple picking.

Contributed by: Janel Steinhoff, RD, LDN, Kara Feigenbaum, RD, CDCES, LDN

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