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Celebrating Halloween with Dietary Restrictions

Updated on September 14, 2014
Vegan Halloween candy
Vegan Halloween candy | Source

Vegan, Gluten-free, or Low-sugar Diets at Halloween

Vegan? Gluten-free? Diabetic? Food allergies?

Halloween presents some challenges to families with special dietary needs.

But do not fret! There are many ways of enjoying Halloween, even if you cannot eat most of the trick-or-treat goodies.

Vegan Halloween Party Art Project
Vegan Halloween Party Art Project | Source

Throw a Halloween Party!

Halloween parties are a great way to get into the "spirit" of Halloween while being able to control the kinds of foods that are served.

Having a Halloween party that meets your particular dietary needs allows you and your family to celebrate and enjoy treats with others who share (or will abide by) your food requirements. Have everyone bring a little something to eat - vegan, low-sugar, or gluten-free baked goods, pudding, candies, apple cider, popcorn, fruits, veggies, and other snacks.

Plan the kind of party that your guests will enjoy. There are many ideas online for putting together parties with various themes for different age groups. Think about having your guests come in costume, play games, or create arts and crafts projects. You may have a haunted house, tell ghost stories, dance, or sing karaoke. The sky's the limit for your party as you and your guests enjoy a good time together!

You can give out goodie bags, either with non-food items or with treats that conform to your dietary needs.

Dietary Restrictions?

What is your special diet?

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The Candy Plan, Part 1 - What to Do with the Trick-or-Treat Candy

Halloween candy
Halloween candy | Source

The biggest concern that most of us with special diets have when it comes to Halloween is what to do about trick-or-treating. We want our kids to enjoy the experience, but we dread dealing with all of the candy that we can't let them eat.

It is critical to discuss the candy issue with your kids ahead of time. Make sure they understand that most - perhaps all - of the treats collected on Halloween night are not things they can eat because they are not vegan, will make them sick, or both.

Develop a plan prior to Halloween so that the kids aren't surprised when they have to surrender their booty. Will the treats that do not meet your dietary requirements be given to family or friends, taken to a parent's workplace, or thrown in the trash?

My kids give most of their non-vegan candy to Aunt Nicki and some to Grandmom and Grandad. They know this ahead of time, so they don't feel that candy is being taken away from them after Halloween; they can see as they collect the candy which pieces will be going to Aunt Nicki. (Aunt Nicki is quite pleased with this arrangement!)

Candy You Can Eat

Here are links to information about vegan, gluten-free, and low-carb candies.

Halloween Trick-or-Treaters
Halloween Trick-or-Treaters | Source

The Candy Plan, Part 2

The Great Candy Exchange

Kids may feel like they're missing out on something special if they are required to give away their Halloween candy. Therefore, there is a second part to the Candy Plan.

Discuss with your children prior to trick-or-treating what they will get in exchange for the candy they cannot keep. Some ideas include trading the candy for homemade or store-bought treats that meet your dietary requirements - vegan, gluten-free, low-sugar, etc.

Or, instead of exchanging the candy for other sweets, they could perhaps be "treated" to a special activity or outing.

Or trade the goodies for a toy or a bit of money.

Think about what will work best for your family and give the kids a sense of getting something good and exciting.

There are plenty of cookbooks to address your dietary needs!

Gluten Free Halloween
Gluten Free Halloween

Here's a remarkable cookbook to celebrate Halloween gluten-free!

There are other cookbooks that cater to other special diets.


The Candy Plan, Part 3

What Will You Give to Others?

Think about what kinds of goodies you want to hand out to trick-or-treaters who come a-knocking at your door.

If you're giving out candy, make sure it's something that your family can eat, since there may be temptation for you or your kids to indulge.

There are some pretty fun non-edible treats to consider, as well. These are things that everyone can enjoy, regardless of any special dietary needs. How about stickers, tattoos, pencils, or other small goodies? One caveat: while you may not want to spend a lot of money, you should take care to get favors that are of reasonable quality so that they aren't just thrown into the trash when taken out of the Halloween bag.

Remember to contact your kids' teachers to find out if there will be a Halloween party at school and whether you need to provide appropriate goodies for your kids!

Stories to help explain dietary restrictions to kids

Trick-Or-Treat for Diabetes: A Halloween Story for Kids Living With Diabetes
Trick-Or-Treat for Diabetes: A Halloween Story for Kids Living With Diabetes

Here's a book written specifically for kids with diabetes that focuses on issues around Halloween.


Happy Halloween!

Enjoy your Halloween by making some changes in how you think about trick-or-treating.

Just because you have particular dietary restrictions does not mean you can't have fun on this ghoulish holiday!

Have fun and be healthy!

Trick or Treat! - Please share your thoughts here

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    • Valerie Bloom profile image

      Valerie Bloom 5 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      @yayas: Thank you!

    • yayas profile image

      yayas 5 years ago

      Very good dietary restriction instruction page. I'm so glad I found you on the Front Page.

    • RavenRunner profile image

      RavenRunner 5 years ago

      It can be hard for those with special dietary needs. Thanks for your tips.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      It's great that anyone can enjoy the Halloween celebration, or any occasion for that matter, whether they have dietary restrictions or not.

    • Rowangaia profile image

      Rowangaia 5 years ago

      I love this lens: thank you and Blessed Be!

    • profile image

      MintySea 5 years ago

      I have one who can't eat anything gummy or hard candy

    • profile image

      olmpal 5 years ago

      A great theme idea for a lens! Very useful to those with special dietary needs.

    • Valerie Bloom profile image

      Valerie Bloom 5 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      @MelRootsNWrites: There are definitely a lot more options for most of us with specific dietary needs! Yippie!

    • MelRootsNWrites profile image

      Melody Lassalle 5 years ago from California

      Great ideas! I found out I was allergic to dairy in the mid 1980s. The options were pretty slim. Today, there are many allergy specific treats on the market and recipes that make life a little easier. Thanks for sharing your ideas!

    • VspaBotanicals profile image

      VspaBotanicals 5 years ago


    • sockii profile image

      Nicole Pellegrini 5 years ago from New Jersey

      Don't have kids, but we do end up with trick-or-treaters at our house. I have my partner take the leftover candy to his office after Halloween so I'm not tempted by sugar stuff I don't need to eat!

    • Valerie Bloom profile image

      Valerie Bloom 5 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      @Redneck Lady Luck: Absolutely!

    • MelissaRodgz profile image

      MelissaRodgz 5 years ago

      We never had a Halloween party but that seems like a great idea.

    • Redneck Lady Luck profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 5 years ago from Canada

      Parties are a great way to avoid being confronted with all that candy. Instead of candy you just give out small party favors instead.

    • mojoCNYartist profile image

      Dan 5 years ago from CNY

      Candy exchange is a great idea.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      nice restrictions i will remember them for sure