In this gluten-free candy guide, I share what candies are safe — and not safe — for you to eat when following a gluten-free diet. Always do your own due diligence before consuming a product as information in this article may have changed as manufacturing processes and ingredient lists can change from year to year. The most accurate information will always be directly on the candy’s packaging. This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosures.
Halloween is upon us once again, and this finds many of us gluten-free eaters scrambling – more like Googling – to find out what is and isn’t gluten free.
This time of year can be fraught with scary gluten. Gluten is in many of your former mainstay favorite candies, like Kit Kats, Twizzlers and Nestle Crunch Bars, to name a few.
The good news is, however, that there are plenty of gluten-free options that will satisfy your devilish sweet tooth. You just need to know how to find them and what to look for.
Decoding if a Candy is Gluten Free
Use these four steps to assess if a candy is gluten free:
(1) Read the ingredient label carefully.
The ingredients will likely be posted directly on the candy’s label; however, with mini- and fun-size candies, the ingredient listing are often missing or incomplete. If the full ingredient listing is not printed directly on the candy, you must do additional research (see #2). Be sure to read my article, Everything You Need to Know about Gluten-Free Label Laws, if you are not familiar with the current gluten-free labeling laws.
(2) Research the candy.
If a piece of candy does not contain an ingredient list on the label (as is the case with fun-sized candies), research the label online or contact the manufacturer directly. Just remember that not all third-party information you see online is accurate. Always check with the manufacturer when doubt exists or information you find is contradictory from multiple sources.
(3) Never assume.
Remember, candy labels and manufacturing facilities can change from year to year. Halloween and seasonal candies are often manufactured in alternative factories to meet seasonal high demand. Just because a Hershey Bar is normally gluten free doesn’t mean the fun-size Halloween version of it is gluten free too. Never assume.
(4) Don’t rely solely on allergen disclosure statements.
Manufacturers must disclosure if their products contain any of the top eight allergens (wheat, eggs, dairy, soy, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts), however, gluten is not considered a top eight allergen, only wheat is, so it may not be listed.
For example, on the 100 Grand Bar fun-size candy, the allergen disclosure statement says it may contain milk, soy, peanuts and egg, but it does not list wheat. Can you assume because wheat isn’t listed on the allergen disclosure statement that it doesn’t contain gluten? No!
In fact, 100 Grand Bars contain barley malt. Barley contains gluten; however, barley is not considered a top allergen so it is not listed on the allergen disclosure statement.
Gluten-Free Halloween Candies
Without further ado, let’s discuss the traditional candies that do not generally contain gluten.
The following list of Halloween candies are, as mentioned, generally considered gluten free.
Remember to always read labels and evaluate disclosure statements carefully as advised above.
I cannot guarantee the accuracy of this list, as ingredient labels change. Please do your own due diligence when deciding if a candy is safe for you to consume.
Editor Note: When you see the words “Nima Approved,” that means the candy has been tested for hidden gluten using my Nima Sensor. (Please note the Nima Sensor is no longer in business; an alternative tester is the ALLIS Sensor.)
- Almond Joy (except for Almond Joy Pieces candy) – Nima Approved
- Almond Joy (except Joy Pieces Candy)
- Baby Ruth
- Brach’s Candy Corn – Nima Approved
- Butterfinger Bar (the original flavor is GF, but the giant bar, Crisp, Stixx, Snakerz, Medallions, Jingles, Hearts and Pumpkins are NOT GF) – Nima Approved
- Enjoy Life candies
- Haribo gummy candies including Alphabet Letters, Gold-Bears (except juicy variety is NOT GF), Happy Cola, Twin Cherries, Peaches, Raspberries, Frogs and Rattlesnakes – all GF
- Heath Bars
- Hershey’s Kisses Milk Chocolate and Dark Chocolate (not Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate)
- Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar (1.55 oz only)
- Hershey’s Milk Chocolate with Almonds Bar (1.45 oz only)
- Hershey’s Nuggets Candies
- Hot Tamales
- Jelly Belly candies
- Jolly Ranchers
- Junior Mints
- Laffy Taffy (Laffy Taffy Ropes and Fruitarts Chews are all GF) – Nima Approved
- M&Ms (regular and peanut) – Nima Approved
- Mike and Ikes – check labels, but most are GF including Berry, Assorted, Tropical, Zours
- Milk Duds
- Mounds Bars
- Nips (regular and sugar-free are both GF)
- Oh Henry!
- PEEPS candies – Nima Approved
- Raisinets (cherry, cranberry, and dark chocolate flavors are also GF)
- Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (GF except seasonal shaped items are not GF)
- REESE’s Pieces Candy (GF except REESE’s Pieces Eggs, REESE’S Peanut Butter Cup Unwrapped Minis & Seasonal Shaped Items are not GF) –Nima Approved
- ROLO Caramels in Milk Chocolate Candies (GF except ROLO Minis are not GF) – Nima Approved
- SKOR Toffee Bars
- Skittles – Nima Approved
- Smarties – Nima Approved
- Snickers – Nima Approved
- Sweet Tarts – Nima Approved
- Three Musketeers – Nima Approved
- Tootsie Rolls
- Welch’s Fruit Snacks – all varieties
- Wonka Lik-M-Aid Fun Dip
- Wonka Pixy Sticks
- York Peppermint Pattie (GF except York Pieces Candy, York Minis, and York Shapes (5 oz) are not GF)
What Does Nima Approved Mean?
You may have noticed that my list of gluten-free Halloween candies included some candies tagged as “Nima Approved.” The Nima Sensor is a portable gluten detecting device that enables you to test your food for gluten before you eat it. Nima published a list of tested Halloween candies, and I included the ones the company tested on this list.
Unfortunately, the Nima Sensor is out of business (at least as of October 2020) and you can no longer buy test capsules.
Remember, a few things before trusting the Nima Sensor, though.
- Make sure the ingredients are gluten free. Remember the 100 Grand Bar I mentioned? It contains barley malt, which is fermented and is therefore not detectable by the Nima Sensor. In fact, all fermented foods, like barley malt, soy sauce and beer, cannot be detected by the Nima Sensor. It is a known and widely published limitation of the Nima Sensor.
- Just because someone tested something and it came back okay doesn’t mean yours will come back okay too. Remember, manufacturing facilities can vary, especially when it comes to producing special manufacturing runs for seasonal candy offerings. This is why you must test your own candy for gluten before eating it.
It Bears Repeating
Remember to always be extra cautious before eating Halloween candy. Much of it is manufactured in alternative factories to meet seasonal high demand.
This means you must double check if the fun- or mini-sized treats or specially packaged Halloween items are gluten-free before consuming! Don’t rely on prior knowledge as things can change for holiday manufacturing runs.
Even better, purchase organic, better for you gluten-free Halloween candy that is certified gluten free (read my post about healthy and gluten-free Halloween candy alternatives) or donate your Halloween candy to our troops — who needs all that yucky sugar and gluten anyway!?!
Teal Pumpkin Projects
Keep in mind that if you cannot eat gluten, there are other trick-or-treaters who many not be able to eat gluten either. Consider having some non-food “treats” to hand out, as well as some allergy-friendly treats for those who cannot eat gluten, eggs, soy, corn, etc.
You may have heard about the Teal Pumpkin Project. It’s a movement to encourage households to provide non-food and/or allergy-friendly treats available to trick or treaters.
If you offer allergy-friendly treats on Halloween, please list your house on the Teal Pumpkin Project directory and display a teal pumpkin on your doorstep. This will signal to allergy eaters that your house has safe treats available.
I suggest the following allergy-friendly treats for Halloween:
- Finger Lights: The kids went wild for these Finger Lights when I handed them out last year.
- Flash Rings: These fun Flash Rings rings keep trick-or-treaters lit up at night.
- Bouncy Balls: These glow-in-the-dark Bouncy Balls are another fun non-food Halloween find.
- Chocolate Candy: These chocolate candies by Enjoy Life are free from the top 8 allergens.
- Gummies: These gummy candies by YumEarth are free from the top 8 allergens.
Happy Halloween and stay safe from gluten and goblins!