Ghosts, monsters, vampires, werewolves, and zombies will walk the streets this Halloween (fortunately only hunting for candy). There is a real fear for many families, though. Children suffering from medically-necessitated dietary restrictions are at risk of severe reactions to foods with items like nuts, gluten, and high levels of sugar. There are also many more children who have voluntary restrictions like kosher, vegan, and organic diets.On the surface, wanting to avoid candies that may cause an allergic reaction sounds pretty good, but I don't see this as being that practical. The vegan/vegetarian thing I'm not as concerned about because that is a choice. That being said, would you drive clear across town so your kid could hit the one house in your town listed on the site that is giving out sugar-free/dairy-free/gluten-free candies? A better idea would be for parents to brush up on their candy/treat knowledge so they know what their kids can have, and encourage, locally, for households to carry a variety of candies so that their kid can ask for a specific type of candy when they hit a door.
This is a potential Google Maps mashup that can help save Halloween for these children. No Trick Treats allows users to search for and place locations that will be handing out vegan, organic, raw, fruits/vegetables, nut-free, kosher, sugar-free, gluten-free, and non-food goods. There are a limited amount of locations so far but hopefully press coverage of the site will encourage more people to use it.
A vegan Halloween... what a scary thought.
And, if not every household has an acceptable candy, and you (do I have readers that go out trick or treating?) or your kid trick or treats with a group, encourage candy trading once you are done canvassing the neighborhood for the night. Candy swapping is an age-old Halloween tradition, and it certainly beats getting stuck with a bunch of candies you don't like or can't eat.
Is this a web tool you could see yourself using?
Oh, and here are some candy ideas for those with a couple dietary restrictions:
Gluten free: Charms Blow Pops, Necco wafers, Tootsie Rolls, BabyRuth
Vegan: Charms Blow Pops, Dum-Dums, Jolly Ranchers hard candy, Pez, Sour Patch Kids, Airheads Taffy