It’s Halloween. This year we can go Trick or Treating, Covid permitting. But how do you survive Halloween with your Coeliac Child? How do you negotiate Trick or Treating when your child is gluten free or has Coeliac Disease?
It can be tricky in many ways. Maybe your child is used to going Trick or Treating but has now been diagnosed. Maybe they’ve never known any different, or never even been Trick or Treating.
My daughter had been Trick or Treating since she was little, initially just around the square where we lived. Both children enjoyed dressing up, decorating the house, carving the pumpkins that were grown by grandpa. Having fun without even thinking about it.
But then came the diagnosis of Coeliac Disease & changes were required to negotiate ‘normal’ events.
How to you survive Halloween with your coeliac child? With a little pre prep & planning!!
Whether you are attending your first Halloween Party or your first trick or treat trip out having been diagnosed with Coeliac Disease, having a plan will help alleviate the panic in the first place.
Our first Halloween with her Trick or Treating involved several neighbours having a special box just for her with suitable sweets in. But, when you’re 9 you want to have some freedom to go to other houses with your friends (albeit with an adult in tow!).
So we devised a strategy. We had learnt what kind of sweets are suitable for those with Coeliac Disease and we only buy those for people calling at our house. In turn, we would take out the few sweets that were her favourites and keep them to the side. She’d put a couple in her pocket if she wanted a sweet whilst wandering around.
We then would go Trick or Treating. We’d call at any houses that had pumpkins or decorations, and choose a treat that was wrapped. That’s the first consideration. Don’t choose unwrapped sweets. It minimises cross contamination.
We then didn’t worry too much on what wrapped sweet she chose. She was taking part and that is what mattered most.
Sort and Swap
Once we’d finished going round, we would go home & tip out the haul on a tray in the kitchen. We’d then sort through them.
Any that were not suitable, unknown or no ingredients on them, would be removed swapped with her sister or the safe selection we had sorted earlier that evening. Then any unknown sweets would be added to our trick or treat box for callers to our house.
It takes the effort out of the guessing, searching through a box to find a suitable sweet, removes the disappointment at not getting something from someone’s bucket at a house.
It alleviates the stress for you, the worry for them and helps them feel normal, that they are participating in regular everyday events, just like everyone else.
Coeliac UK have an online list – check there if you have any queries.
What are your top tips?