halloween candy
Healthy Living

Don’t Let Food Allergens Scare You: A List of Safe Halloween Treats

Oct 17 2022

Halloween is a popular time of the year to indulge in all your favorite candies and treats. Additionally, there are plenty of options for those trick-or-treaters who are prone to food allergies and still want to enjoy a spooky-themed or shaped treat.

What are the common food allergies?

Food allergies can affect kids as well as people at any age. Although you may not always know the food allergies of all party guests or trick-or-treaters, you can always steer clear of the most common food allergens just to be safe.

The following eight foods account for the most serious allergic reactions:

  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Milk
  • Peanuts
  • Shellfish
  • Soy
  • Tree nuts
  • Wheat

When you choose Halloween treats that don’t contain these foods, you lower your risk of someone having an allergic reaction to something they eat.  

Three easy food allergen-safe Halloween treats

Caramel apples

Caramel apples are a great choice if you’re looking for a Halloween treat that still has nutritional value. You can buy them pre-made or follow a recipe to make a batch. All you’ll need is melted candy caramels to dip apples into and some wooden treat sticks. You can add sprinkles for topping or leave them be.

Caramel apples are a good option for those with gluten and wheat allergies. Those who are dairy-free should skip the cream or opt for making a homemade caramel sauce with a milk substitute.

Gluten-free candy

Gluten-free candy is perfect for those with gluten allergies, also known as celiac disease. Eating food or candy that contains gluten when you’re allergic can make you feel sick or nauseous.

Gluten-free candies you can buy at the store include:

  • Laffy Taffy
  • Hershey’s candy
  • Tootsie Rolls
  • SweeTARTS (also dairy-free)
  • Mike & Ike’s
  • York Peppermint Patties
  • Junior Mints (also dairy-free)
  • Smarties
  • Peeps

Dairy-free candy

Milk allergies are common in both children and adults and can cause hives, cramps, diarrhea and severe coughing and vomiting. Less extreme dairy allergies come in the form of lactose intolerance, which can manifest in digestive issues like bloating, stomach aches and gas.

Dairy-free Halloween treats include a few candies listed above as well as:  

  • Jelly beans
  • Jolly Ranchers
  • Ring Pops
  • Skittles
  • Starburst
  • Sour Patch Kids

Another option #1: make your own party snacks

Hosting a Halloween bash this year where one or more of the attendees has a food allergy? Making your own snacks is a great option! The advantage of making your own party snacks is that you have control over what goes in them.

Choices that are generally safer for those who have food allergies include:

  • Popcorn
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Fruit cut into Halloween shapes
  • Black- and orange-colored dairy-free yogurt or pudding
  • Crispy rice treats
  • Animal crackers

And when you do opt for pre-packaged snacks, just be sure to read the labels to make sure they don’t include potential allergens.

Another option #2: provide a party favor instead of food

There are also non-food gifts and goodies that you can hand out on Halloween to avoid food allergies altogether. Creating fun kid gift bags with toys for them to play with can oftentimes be more enjoyable than handing out candy.

  • Stickers
  • Notebooks
  • Bubbles
  • Stuffed animals, especially holiday themes like pumpkins, ghosts or spiders

As an added bonus, these goodies tend to last longer than edible treats. If you choose to give non-food party favors, make sure they are age-appropriate.

Learn more about food allergies as well as the allergy and immunology services we offer at Mercy Health.

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