Trick-or-treat! It’s Halloween season and that means fun costumes, pumpkin carving and spooky haunted houses. But there’s nothing quite as scary this time of year as wondering if the candy in your trick-or-treat bag is gluten-free. Don’t let Halloween candy haunt you, here’s what you need to know about the ingredients in your favorite treats. 

Gluten-Free Indicators to Look For

Labels are your best friend when it comes to eating gluten-free. Check if your candy label has phrases such as “may contain wheat flour” or if it is confidently labeled “gluten-free.”

Review the allergen list underneath the ingredients for common allergy warnings such as “contains wheat.” Note that just because it does not say “contains wheat,” does not automatically mean that the item is gluten-free. You will also need to do a thorough read of the ingredient list. 

If the ingredients list contains indictors such as wheat, barley, rye, malt, triticale, unprocessed wheat starch, or Brewer’s Yeast, then the product will contain gluten and should be avoided. Also check if the product contains oats that may impact your consumption. 

With individual, Halloween-sized candy pieces you may not always be able to find ingredient info on the labels. It’s always best to air on the side of caution and Google an ingredient list on the manufacturer’s website which will also be able to provide “Made in a facility that contains…” cross-contamination information. 

Gluten-Free Halloween Candies

Chocolate lovers rejoice, many of your Halloween favorites are free from gluten. This sweet list includes Almond Joy, Mounds, Heath, Milk Duds, Pay Day, Hershey’s Kisses, Snickers, certain varieties of M&Ms, 3 Musketeers and the classic Hershey bar. As always, it’s important to do a check of all ingredients as variations may differ. For example, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Reese’s Pieces are gluten-free however their holiday shapes, like Reese’s pumpkins, can contain gluten. 

Gummy bears are a hit or miss candy so do your research as gluten varies from brand to brand. For example, popular gummy brand Black Forest is gluten-free whereas Haribo gummy bears, while not directly containing wheat, are made of glucose derived from corn and wheat. Other gummy candies, such as Sour Patch Kids and Welch’s Fruit, are gluten-free. 

Halloween Candy That Contains Gluten

Not all candies are created equal and a lot of the popular bulk candies available for sale this time of year contain gluten. Candies with cookie pieces or crispies often contain wheat flour and should be avoided. This means no candy bars like Twix, Kit Kats, 100 Grand, Crunch or even Milky Way. This also includes Whoppers as they are made with malt. 

Believe it or not, licorice is another common culprit for accidental gluten consumption. At first glance one might not think Twizzlers, Red Vines or licorice bites would contain wheat flour, however these candies contain gluten despite the licorice root itself being gluten-free. 

Ultimately, it’s important that you read labels, and if you aren’t 100% sure give it to someone who can eat gluten. If you find your Halloween haul contains a lot of gluten, consider donating the candy to a local shelter or a dentist offering a candy buyback so your gluten-filled candy does not go to waste. 

Wishing you and your family a safe and healthy Halloween!