It’s October again and Halloween is approaching. Being a mom sure has changed things. I admit, before I became pregnant, I didn’t have a clue in the world about GMOs. I sure didn’t think twice about Halloween candy. Somewhere between working in a health food store, getting pregnant and having a baby, something inside of me switched. I became raw vegan and an advocate for all things healthy. I did it for myself, as well as my family and friends. So now, as Halloween approaches, I feel like I cannot, in good conscious, hand out the conventional candies and treats to other children.
According to an infographic circling social media as of late, using information taken from Green Halloween and Non-GMO project, the top 10 GMO ingredients used in Halloween candy are:
- Sugar (GMO sugar beets)
- High fructose corn syrup (GMO corn)
- Corn starch (GMO corn)
- Soy lecithin (GMO soy)
- Soybean oil GMO soy)
- Modified food starch (GMO corn)
- Fructose, dextrose, glucose (GMO corn)
- Cottonseed oil (GMO cotton)
- Canola oil (GMO canola)
- "Other" ingredients: isolates, isoflavones, food starch, vegetable oil
This list pretty much represents every mainstream candy bar made in the US, which is unsettling, at the very least.
Ok. So you’ve done a little research and have decided that you no longer want to partake in handing this junk out. Now what? What can you hand out instead? For starters, you can look for products that are certified organic and/or are Non-GMO Project certified. I’ve compiled a small list of GMO free candy. There are many other options available.
Endangered Species: individually-wrapped chocolates. The company donates 10 percent of net profits to supporting species, habitat and humanity.
Go Naturally: Organic hard candies that are also gluten free
Yummy Gummy Candies: this is a candy that's free of common allergens like peanut, gluten and soy and is also free of dyes, corn syrup, GMOs and more.
Annie's: gummy snacks or pretzels or cheddar crackers in snack-size packs for something savory. All Annie's items are non-GMO.
Panda: Raspberry or Cherry Licorice
Unreal #77: Peanut Butter Cups
Surf Sweets: Sour Berry Bears, Spooky Spiders
Equal Exchange: Chocolate Minis
Glee Gum: a chemical sweetener free gum
These items can be found online, or at your local health food store. Some may even be found at Target or Giant Eagle! I really felt relieved when I found replacements for the favorite treats.
Want other ideas for treats? My kid will go crazy over some stickers or glow sticks. How about nickles inside of plastic eggs? Fake tattoos? Good old fashioned apples?
While perusing the internet for ideas for a safer Halloween, I came across the Teal Pumpkin Project. It was started just last year to promote awareness of children with allergies and ways to include them in the holiday. All you have to do is paint a pumpkin teal and put it in your yard, showing that you have non-food treats available. I really think this is a fantastic project that aims to include all children.
Last year, 50 states and 7 different countries participated in the Teal Pumpkin Project. This year, it is expected to be even bigger.
Halloween is an important holiday to a lot of people. It’s nice that we can find a way to be healthful and mindful about it. I want to teach my child good habits, as well as how to have a good time.
I think it’s time we take responsibility for what we put in our bodies. Perhaps, if we make better choices, and stop supporting the companies who use GMO ingredients, our voices will be heard and better alternatives will be offered.
And, as with anything, moderation is key. My midwife once told me, cake is cake. It doesn’t matter to the body if it’s an organic cake, it still gets processed the same way. Yes, the ingredients are better for you, but it’s still cake. So try not to go overboard, no matter what your choices for treats are.