By Bridget

Aside from the costumes, one of the best parts of Halloween is the ability to gather a plethora of candy treats through the simple declaration of “Trick or Treat!” Laura provided a great post last Thursday, with lists of gluten-free treats that are commercially available so your trick-or-treaters don’t have to worry.

To keep your kids (and yourself!) safe, here are three important things to remember about food safety this Halloween:

There could be more than chocolate in your peanut butter! While we all know that a lot of peanut butter-containing treats are gluten-free (my personal favorite are Reeses peanut butter cups!) sadly this year everyone must be careful about a salmonella contamination from this summer. Due to a problem in a major factory, many peanut, peanut butter, and even almond products were affected, and are being recalled. Unfortunately, products are being added to the list everyday, so it may be best to avoid peanuts altogether to keep your treats gluten- and salmonella-free this October!

Keep your candy commercial. Apart from the risk of gluten-free cross-contamination, don’t accept homemade goodies from strangers. Even if the intentions are pure, it can be dangerous to consume homemade candy apples, popcorn balls, or other treats when you’re out trick-or-treating. Only accept products that are commercially wrapped to ensure they are safe. Be sure to inspect your candy before you eat it, looking for any signs of tampering including discoloration, pinholes, or tears in wrappers.

Avoid temptation. Be sure to give your kids healthy gluten-free snacks at home before they pound the pavement to safeguard them from nibbling on uninspected candy (which could also contain gluten!). Some great pre-trick-or-treating snacks include hummus and carrots, fruit and yogurt, or even some fall-inspired homemade gluten-free trail mix with roasted pumpkin seeds, dried fruit (like cranberries, cherries, and raisins), and dark chocolate chips!

For more tips and information on recalls and Halloween safety, check out the full list of recalled items at www.fda.gov/food/foodsafety/CORENetwork/ucm320413.htm and other safety tips at www.fda.gov/forconsumers/consumerupdates.

Happy Halloween!