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The list of allergy-free candies is surprisingly fun. Halloween candy were up 13% over last year in the month ending Sept. 6, according to data from market research firm IRI and the National Confectioners Association. < ROBERT F. BUKATY | AP >
While we have other scares to worry about in this coronavirus-tainted Halloween season, the effects of food allergies continue to haunt parents and kids who could find fatal reactions to a peanut in their candy bowl.
The good news is the list of allergy-free candy is surprisingly fun. So you won’t end up looking like that old lady who gives out pencils and toothbrushes for the trick-or-treaters. (You’ll know her as the one who ends up with toilet paper in the oak tree at the end of the night.)
Food allergies are estimated to affect as many as 2 to 5 percent of American children, which means at least one or two kids in every classroom could suffer from some kind of allergy, some of them fatal.
Although some are tempted to forego trick-or-treating altogether this year, public health officials advise that one-way trick-or-treating is not a high risk. Kids should stick to going out with just their own family and the givers should put out grab-and-go bags of treats or lay out the candy on a table at the end of the driveway for kids to help themselves.
When it comes to allergies, there are some good food-free ideas such as stickers, crayons, art supplies, playing cards, glow sticks, bubbles, toys and temporary tattoos — all fun prizes for a Halloween basket that won’t get your house egged.
Luckily, many classic Halloween candies happen to be nut-free. Here are some choices to fill your candy chute that will keep everyone safe while snacking:
Skittles are free of eight food allergens. < Wrigley >
Skittles: The taste of the rainbow is free of all eight major allergens, and it’s hard to find a kid who doesn’t like Skittles.
Charms Blow Pops and Tootsie Pops: The bubble gum-filled pops are gluten-free, and come Halloween time, both Blow Pops and Tootsie Pops are nut-free.
Hershey’s Kisses: The milk chocolate dollops are made in a peanut-free facility, so they’re safe, except for those who have a milk allergy.
Classic Hershey"s Bars and Kisses are made in a peanut-free facility, so they’re safe for people with allergies. < Hershey >
Hershey’s Milk Chocolate: While many of the other chocolate bars made from this classic company need to be avoided by those with nut allergies, these old-school bars are a go.
Milk Duds: These caramel and chocolate gems are nut-free.
Laffy Taffy: The stretchy, fruity taffy comes in a mixed bag to let kids pick their favorite flavor.
Jelly Belly jelly beans come in a wide variety of flavors that don’t contain any of the eight major allergens. < MIKE LANG | Mike Lang >
Jelly Belly: They make a wide variety of jelly beans, but they also have sour gummy pumpkins that don’t contain any of the eight major allergens.
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Other allergy-free candies to look for include:RolosTwizzlersSmartiesAirheadsTootsie RollsSwedish FishSour Patch KidsMike and IkeStarburstSour Punch Twists
Information from Food Allergy Research & Education, the largest private funder of food allergy research in the world, was used in this report.