Allergy-Free Halloween: I Want Candy
Halloween is once again upon us and somewhere among all the ruckus about the new Victoria’s Secret costumes and dressing up like the Jersey Shore gang—this generation’s Scooby Doo—the most ethereal of ethereal holidays has returned to its roots.
This year, Halloween is homespun; crafty parents are retrofitting old costumes and swapping hand-me downs, making their own models or buying handmade from Etsy. Even the hullabaloo over the holiday’s hellish associations has died down. No one in my town is offering any anti-pagan antidotes to the haunted houses and Heaven and Hell parties, and according to the Census Bureau, more kids than ever are trick-or-treating in neighborhoods that we overwhelmingly report as safe. So it seems we are even free to frolic again.
And though it remains an indefatigable contender for most-unapologetically-commercialized holiday ever, Halloween has gone green. Today, your kid is more likely to request a hayride at the community farm or point out the reusable trick-or-treat sacks at the grocery store (which he can fill with gluten-free candy at his school’s eco-friendly party) than clamor for a bucket of ghost Peeps (thanks, Easter). Which is great—fog machines and macabre lights aside, Halloween is the moment to talk about the harvest-time. To not only carve up the pumpkin but to salvage the seeds for toasting and the guts for pie.
Still, I’m a little surprised that it’s greening up. After all, this is a holiday that celebrates morbid excess in all of its, um, morbidity.
But I’m on board. Thus, ixnay on the fog machine, mood lighting and bags of plastic eyeballs. Enter more baking, costumes that can be worn again and smarter sweets.
The smartest, in fact. Candy so hyper-aware I feel, eating it, culturally insensitive by comparison. Candy so uncannily in-step with the New Millennium Halloween, I’m expecting 100% recyclable costumes and low-impact fog machines next year. The gourmet natural treats from Birmingham, Alabama’s Indie Candy have none of the Big 8 Allergens. They don’t use artificial colors or flavors—just fruit, veggie and spice extracts. As if that’s not enough, they are Feingold Diet-approved (the Feingold Diet is the reigning ADHD food plan), taste like fruit-on-a-stick (unless you’re mainlining their juicy, squishy gummies straight from the bag, like me), come in pumpkins and bats and skulls and are gorgeous enough to serve to adults too.
My kids don’t have allergies, but my daughter Willa’s classmates do. I can’t imagine what I’d do if she had a peanut allergy—peanut butter being her primary food source. But if she was sensitive to tree-nuts or wheat or casein, Halloween really would be hell. I’d be inspecting all that dubious candy with a blacklight and an EpiPen. Or she’d skip tricks and treats altogether, which sounds like the biggest of possible drags for a three-year old.
Now, a smarter, more eco-friendly, allergen-free Halloween and a morbidly excessive Halloween aren’t mutually exclusive. I’m going Indie this year and ordering dairy-free chocolate Batz lollipops for Willa’s class party. Maybe I can’t sew her costume or explain the life cycle of the pumpkin or make all of our decorations out of tree branches, but I can definitely hook the kids up with some seriously good chocolate that’s safe for all of them.
Photo courtesy of Indie Candy
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