As the mother of a child with celiac disease, I understand the mix of emotions that Halloween can bring for our community. Navigating school, parties, and trick-or-treating with a child with celiac disease comes with its own set of concerns. Strict adherence to a gluten-free diet – which can be challenging to manage in any environment – is especially difficult during this food-centered holiday that’s supposed to be fun. It’s easy for our children to feel left out of social events that include treats, and it can feel stressful, and sometimes embarrassing, to be looking at labels and asking questions about ingredients while also trying to fully participate in a fun activity with friends.
This is one of many reasons why the Celiac Disease Foundation partnered with Takeda on the Virtual Celiac Symptoms Study (VCSS), an observational study that aimed to understand celiac disease symptoms, impacts, and to help identify patient groups who would benefit from additional treatment beyond a gluten-free diet.
Adult and adolescent cohorts were asked to complete daily, weekly, and monthly questionnaires about their symptoms and quality of life for 12 weeks using a smartphone app.
The study showed that despite following a gluten-free diet, adolescent patients with celiac disease continued to experience gastrointestinal symptoms. During the 12-week study duration (84 days), the average number of days with reported gluten exposure was almost 7 days and the average days of reported symptoms was about 50 days.
While there is currently no cure for celiac disease, the only course of action is strict adherence to a gluten-free diet – including avoiding tricky treats that are not safe. To foster a safe and happy Halloween for everyone, the Celiac Disease Foundation is proud to partner again with our friends at Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) to promote the Teal Pumpkin Project. This important campaign aims to raise awareness of the need to offer non-food trinkets and toys in a separate bowl this Halloween to make this holiday safer, more enjoyable, and more inclusive for everyone affected by celiac disease, food allergies, intolerances, and other conditions.
The Celiac Disease Foundation also supports our community by compiling an annual gluten-free Halloween candy list. We of course encourage you to use the list as a guide and to always read labels, since ingredients and formulas can change at any time.
Our children deserve to enjoy holiday get-togethers without constant worry. By making a donation today, you can contribute to our efforts to raise awareness and support families affected by celiac disease in this season and throughout the year. Your generosity will enable us to fund vital research and advocate for better understanding and accommodation for children with celiac disease.
To Our Health,
Marilyn G. Geller
Chief Executive Officer