Monday, October 18, 2010

Allergy-Free Halloween Candy Round-Up

by Kelley Lindberg

Last week I talked about some online resources for buying allergy-friendly candy or non-candy novelties for handing out to all those cute little Halloween trick-or-treaters. This week, I’ll list some of the candy I found here in local Utah stores (most of which are national brands, so they’ll probably be found just about anywhere).

The first thing I want to remind you of is this: READ EVERY LABEL, EVERY TIME. Many manufacturers use multiple factories, and the processes and foods they use in each factory can be different, so the same candy made in two different factories might have different allergen warnings. And manufacturers can change their recipes from year to year, too. So the candy you bought last year might be unsafe this year. Double-check everything.

For example, last year I was able to find some Wonka candy mixes that were milk- and egg-free. This year, the “mix” bags all contained an egg and soy warning. (Some of the single-variety Wonka candy was safe, however, such as the Pixie Stix or Fun Dip.) Last year, a Wonka representative told me they perform thorough cleaning and use strict preparation guidelines when they’re using an allergen. But they still put the warning label on the candy that is made in factories where allergens are present. Wonka is good about labeling their individual candies, so you can look at each piece in your little goblin’s bag and know whether you’re getting a contaminated piece or not. I’m disappointed that there are more contamination warnings on Wonka candy this year than last, however.

Now the good news: I found lots of candy that’s free from the Top 8 Allergens (soy, peanut, tree nut, wheat, egg, milk, seafood, shellfish), and several that are free from at least 6. I shopped at Walmart, Sam’s Club, Smith’s, and Shopko. Most stores will carry pretty much the same assortments as those stores, so you should be able to find them somewhere near you. Sam’s Club had the biggest selection and greatest variety. All of the candy I saw contains artificial food colorings, and almost all contains corn syrup, however, so if those are your issues, I recommend lollipops and gummy bears from YummyEarth. They’re free from the big 8, and use natural colorings and flavorings. Or buy non-food novelties from someplace like Oriental Trading Company.

So here is what I found. Remember, don’t take my word for it – check the labels yourself before you buy (I may have missed something while I was standing in the aisle scribbling notes), or you may pick up a bag made in a different factory than the one I looked at. But hopefully this list will help point you in the right direction and keep you from getting discouraged when you look at those giant aisles of unsafe candy. And it might help you when you go through your kid’s trick-or-treat bag, too. Happy treating!

  • Play-Doh mini cups, package of 66, $9.98 at Sam’s Club (contains wheat)
Corn-free as well as free from Top 8 (These candies don’t list corn syrup in their ingredients, so they may be safe for corn-allergic kids):
  • Smarties (Walmart, 60 per bag, 2 bags for $4)
  • Wonka Pixie Stix (Walmart, 120 per bag, 2 bags for $4)
  • Wonka Fun Dip (Walmart, 40 per bag, $4.75)
  • Bob’s Sweet Stripes Soft Mint Candies (red & white peppermints) (Sam’s Club (290 per bag, $5.98)
Free from Top 8:
  • Dum-Dums (Sam’s Club, 360 per bag, $6.98)
  • Dum-Dum Chewy Pops (Walmart, 180 per bag, $4.75)
  • Member’s Mark Zoo Animal Fruit Snacks (contains coconut oil) (Sam’s Club, 72 per bag, $8.98)
  • Betty Crocker Fruit Roll-Ups (Sam’s Club, 48 per box, $7.48)
  • Betty Crocker Halloween Fruit Snacks (Sam’s Club, 46 per box, $6.98
  • Otter Pops (Sam’s Club, 200 for $7.80)
  • Kellogg’s Fruity Snacks (contains coconut oil) (Sam’s Club, 50 per box, $6.98)
  • Skittles and Starbursts Assortment (Sam’s Club, 172 per bag, $9.88, or Shopko has a bag of 90 for $9.99
  • Life Savers Gummies (Smiths, 30 per bag, $2.49)
  • Dots (Smiths, 17 mini-boxes per bag, $2.49)
  • Hot Tamales & Mike & Ike assortment (Smiths, 63 per bag, $6.99, or Shopko has a bag of 35 for $4.89
  • Swedish Fish & Sour Patch Kids assortment (Smiths, 115 per bag, $9.99)
  • Smiths also had bags of Skittles and bags of Starbursts, but I forgot to write down the price
  • Jet-Puff Boo Mallows (bags of Halloween-shaped marshmallows) (Walmart, 14 bags for $2.00)
  • Ring Pops (Walmart, 22 for $4.75)
  • Marvel Candy Sticks (Walmart, 2 bags of 60 for $4)
Contains Soy Lecithin or Soy warning (but free from other 7 top allergens):
  • Wrigley’s Gum (Sam’s Club, 40 packs for $7.14)
  • Jolly Rancher Lollipops (Sam’s Club, 100 per bag, $9.22)
  • Laffy Taffy (Sam’s Club: 165 per container, $5.72; Smiths: 2 bags of 40 for $4; Walmart: 80 for $4.75)
  • Laffy Taffy Ropes (Sam’s Club, 48 ropes, $8.78)
  • Double Bubble bubble gum (Walmart, 160 for $4.75)
  • Act II Popcorn Balls (Walmart, 20 for $5)
Contains Soy and Wheat (but free from other 6 top allergens):
  • Twizzlers (Sam’s Club, 180 for $6.98)
  • Airheads (Sam’s Club: 90 for $8.34, Walmart: 2 bags of 30 for $4)
  • Utz Pretzel Treats (Sam’s Club, 70 bags of Halloween-shaped pretzels, contains wheat and barley, made on equipment that processes soy and sesame seeds, $6.98)
  • Twizzler & Jolly Rancher Assortment (Sam’s Club, 225 for $9.98)
Contains Wheat and Egg (but free from other 6 top allergens):
  • Wonka Mixups (Sam’s Club, 300 for $9.88)
  • Wonka Sweetarts Variety Mix (Walmart, I forgot to write down price)
  • Wonka Monster Treat Mix (Walmart, I forgot to write down price)


Infant Bibliophile said...

Great list, thanks! We pretty much stick to smarties and dum dums for now, but it is nice to see that we have so many options available. I am especially excited about the idea of introducing my little guy to Fun Dip someday! (A little afraid that if I start now, he may want it all the time). :) Of course, you know play-doh has wheat, so I cringe a little and quickly dispose of it when I see that one in goodie bags.

Allergy Babe said...

FYI- Play-doh has wheat in it, or last time I checked it it did. However, non food items that I've seen lately are miniature decks of cards.

Kelley J. P. Lindberg said...

Oh, I forgot to add "contains wheat" to the Play-Doh! Thanks so much for reminding me... I'll add that right now. Erasers, pencils, bouncy balls, spider rings, friendship bracelets, and other toys are great non-food treats, and you can find them at party stores, department stores, or online sources like Oriental Trading Co.

nancy said...

Great advice, thanks for providing such a detailed list. Happy Halloween!

Liz Briggs said...

Thanks for this list! If anyone is out there looking for additional non-food ideas, here are some things we have come up with this year.

small activity books (package of 20 for 2 dollars at walmart)

Hope that helps someone!

Anonymous said...

I thought I'd leave a note on the dum dums, my son loves them but has a reaction to the traces of soy. If you go to their site they have a great list of all candies and allergens, but admit that the dum dums are produced in a factory that handles soy. My son is just sensitive enough that he has a problem with them.