Monday Mashup! An October-ish question…

Welcome to October!  Where has the time gone?!  

Today is Child Health Day so I want to offer some help for newbies to the dye-free scene, while tying it into the whole Halloween theme.  Monday Mashup is a group effort, and we all learn from each other, so please jump right in!

I started this blog on Halloween almost one year ago, because I love everything that goes along with this celebration, including the sweets. I’ve never hidden the fact that I love candy. But there is a scarier side to this thrilling time of year still.  Our choices are very different now that we avoid synthetic petroleum-based additives like food coloring (Red 40, Yellow 5 & 6, etc.), preservatives (BHA, BHT, TBHQ, and sodium benzoate) and fake flavors (“vanillin”, “artificial flavor”).  And even more so now that we follow the Feingold diet (more on that soon).

So my question this month is this: What’s YOUR plan for dealing with the traditional (synthetic) Halloween trick or treat loot?  Can you recommend specific products your kids like?

Please include your blog name and blog website URL in your comment, so we can all drop in on your world!

And while you’re at it, tell me what you’re doing, if anything, for Child Health Day.  Do you plan to tweet or e-mail food manufacturers?  Maybe ditch one nasty baddie from your pantry today?  Talk to your kids about what it means to be “healthy”, or teach them to read a food ingredient label?  Sign or create a petition? Or perhaps educate yourself about what food coloring can really do to a kid? Every little bit is a step closer to a healthier child and better food system for future generations.

15 Responses to “Monday Mashup! An October-ish question…”
  1. Bri says:

    We’ll allow our kids to do the traditional trick-or-treat route, but when they get home, we always go through the candy together and make a “keep” jar and a “pass on” pile. For my dye-free son, anything he can’t keep because of safety issues will get traded to Mom for a better alternative. We’re planning to stock up on Unreal candy, organic “sunny bears” from Whole Foods’ bulk bins (a favorite in our house!), and Whole Foods’ dye-free lollipops. It’s likely that even our other son, who has no visible adverse reaction to food dyes and is allowed to have them on special occasions like Halloween, will also want to trade up some of his loot for the Mom stash!

  2. Kelly says:

    We do the same. They trick-or-treat and then when we get home we trade for dye-free candy. The dye stuff goes into work with my husband.

  3. Melissa says:

    We’ve been dye free for just over two years now. We trick or treat all together, and when we get home, everyone (we have four kids) piles their candy together. After we’ve gone through for open stuff, we sort through and make sure the dye free kid gets some chocolate he can have, and the gluten free kid gets some stuff she can eat, and then the older two who can have whatever split up what’s left. We don’t keep all of the candy anyhow, in the past we’ve taken some to the dentist candy collecting for the troops, and we use that money to buy safe stuff for the little kids. My son is really good about advocating for himself. He didn’t used to be, but when he finally understood the difference in how he felt, he did a better job turning down things he can’t eat.

  4. In the past, I have gone out of my way to orchestrate a trick-or-treat for my kids and their buddies (they don’t really have trick-or-treating where we live in Thailand) because it’s an American tradition and I want them to grow up knowing about American culture. Funny that I was actually going out of my way to provide junk for my kids. But anyway, since I buy the treats and plant them ahead of time, I guess I could buy anything! This is our first additive-free Halloween, and I’m thinking of skipping the trick or treating and having a party for the kids instead.

    My blog is

    I had no idea it was Child Health day… I’ll have to think about what I can do today to observe it!

  5. Jess says:

    This is going to be our first Feingold Halloween so I’ve been gathering ideas from the support board. I’ve talked to DS and he’s game for trading in his candy for a prize…we’re getting him a TAG reader pen and a Solar System discovery pack. I also just put in an order for FG friendly candy at Squirrels Nest natural candy store!

  6. Melissa says:

    We’ve been dye free with our 7 year old son for just over two years. I think my biggest advice is to know that you aren’t alone and don’t be overwhelmed when you go shopping, just read the labels, you’ll get so used to it after awhile that it will be easy for you. My youngest and I are both gluten and lactose intolerant, and so cutting dye didn’t end up being too difficult for us because I’m used to label reading, though it’s annoying sometimes. It’s worth it for the changes you will see! We’re working on cutting the artificial flavors/preservatives/etc now, which has been harder but we are getting there.

  7. has a lot of great ideas for PLAYING with the candy instead of eating it!

    There are also some ideas here:
    Many include eating it, but you can save some to make gingerbread houses (that you’re not planning to eat,) candy mosaics with glue (also not eat,) donate to charity (libraries, food banks, the troops,) or trade for cash from many dentists/orthodontists in your area! More ideas too!

  8. Mara says:

    We stock up on candy from, Sprouts and Trader Joes. Then we go trick-or-treating and go through it when we get home. My son who can’t have dyes or chocolate usually ends up with nothing from his haul that he can eat, and the other child usually gets some chocolate that he can eat. They keep up to 10 pieces (if they can find that many) of candy that they can eat. And then we let them dip into our stockpile of “good” candy for a few weeks after dinner. We used to bring the Trick-or-Treat candy to work, but now we just throw it away. If it’s not good enough for my kids to eat, why would I want someone else to eat it?

  9. Steph says:

    I try to limit sugar in our diets as much as possible, not just dyes. Dyes make my kid crazy, but sugar is also dangerous. That being said, I don’t want my kids to feel deprived and become resentful. I always let them choose the number of candies that corresponds to their age, and they can trade the rest in for a surprise (usually a small toy or a book that relates to their costumes somehow). Then I put their choices away in the pantry and they usually forget about them after a day or two anyway.

  10. Faith says:

    It’s our first Halloween on feingold as well. I may ‘cheat’ a little. I have been reading chocolate bar packages like crazy and have found a couple here in Canada that read clean and I think my children can have. They are not feingold approved, but they also don’t have artificial stuff or vanillin in them so I think we’ll be okay. For all the other candy we have offered a pay back option to our kids. We will ‘buy’ the candy from the kids for a small fee and then they can go find a toy at the store instead. They are pretty excited about that and want to go trick-or -treating to even more places this year so that they have more candy to sell to us.

  11. Becky says:

    We will basically avoid all traditional Halloween candy. Funny, I learned about the Feingold diet long before I had children (our pastor and his wife have a son who had ADD/ADHD as a child and followed it with excellent results- back in the 70’s/early 80’s). So I’ve pretty much always known to avoid artificial colors, flavors and preservatives. I’ll admit, we’ve gotten a little relaxed about the flavors and preservatives. It may be time to go back and throw out all the foods containing baddies. I’ve noticed some issues in my two older children lately, and I wonder if it’s (at least in part) because of not being as careful as I know I should be…

  12. sjgordon says:

    Ironically our four-year-old and my husband is allergic to annatto “the all natural food coloring”. I just wish food dye would die. It is NOT needed! For Halloween we have to worry about the “healthy” treats like pretzels, Staufffers animal crackers and Pepperidge Farm Goldfish crackers. I’m spending Child Health Day letting our beloved Healthy Food Companies like Apple and Eve Juice know allergies are allergies and full disclosure of ingredients is most important! We have yet to find out if their juice contains annatto…We offer our trick-or-treaters and friends a variety of snacks to try to satisfy as many allergies as possible (We are giving the last of the annatto containing food away this Halloween!)

  13. Stephanie says:

    I do whatever I can to make Halloween & other holidays fun by offering natural food options with a festive twist – this year I made “Monster Mash” dye free fruit pudding & sorbet : .

  14. Christina says:

    I found great dye/preservative free candy at Aldi of all places. It even has real vanilla! I also made Monster Muffins (made bright green with spinach but yummy, I swear!) and colored pumpkin faces on peach fruit cups so they look like jack o lanterns.

  15. I know this comment is coming in too late, but I wanted to tell you what we did with our candy this year. Our son has been banned from Red#40 for 3 years now. Until yesterday I had no idea all the other dyes were bad too. Trust me, after reading last night about the dyes, we have already gone totally dye free!

    So anyway, we already don’t eat Red#40 around here. And 3 out of 4 of us are also wheat and gluten free (I discovered that my son’s ADHD was drastically improved when I removed wheat from his diet).

    Being wheat and red#40 free already pretty much ruins Halloween. Anything with a crispy center is off limits (wheat) and anything red or orange colored is out (red40). Our kids are 10 and 8, and have been eating like this for so long that they don’t even mind it anymore. They got bored after less than half a bag of candy received from trick or treating, then they came home, dumped it all out on the floor and immediately started tossing the stuff that they can’t have. It has turned into a game for them. They honestly didn’t even seem upset about it.

    The rest of the unhealthy candy got put in a bowl where they snacked on it for a few days before they got grounded from it and we told them we threw it away (we hid it but we thought they would get upset if they thought we tossed it). Turns out, they could have cared less. The bowl was hid for a week with no tears and no care or concern about it at all. After my husband and I snacked on quite a few tootsie rolls we finally had enough of the secret candy stash and actually really threw it away this time.

    The kids saw it in the trash and were like, “You tricked us. You just now threw it away. O well. I’d rather have ice cream anyway.” They do act spoiled, don’t they?

    I guess going red40 free for so long has made them not really into candy anymore. They are so chill about it (maybe a side effect of NOT eating red40! They are always chill and cool acting.)

    So, anyway, I say all this because a) it’s kind of funny, and b) to give you hope that it does get better. After 3 years, our kids are pretty much over it. They don’t even like candy much anymore. Eventually your kids just get over it and move on.

    And red40 makes my son (10 year old) so completely crazy feeling that he reads every food label before eating anything. A few weeks ago he inadvertently ate some red40 and went totally crazy and wild. Not only did I hate it, but HE hated it. He whined and moaned for hours just begging the red40 in his body to please hurry and get out of his system. His afternoon was filled with lots of whining and saying things like, “I HATE feeling this way. I hate red40! I never want to eat red40 again. I never want to feel like this ever again. Why do food companies have to put this in our food? This is the worst feeling ever!!!”

    Well, at least he recognizes how horrible it is. And he has learned. He eats that crap, he feels horrible. So he voluntarily avoids it at all cost. No fighting here over saying no to twizzlers (his old favorite candy in the whole world). He now curses them when he sees them at the check out.

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