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Discussion Starter #1
I don't want to ruin the surprise for my haunt this year, so I must keep this sort of vague.

Part of it will include a food cart with two trays, one filled with candy for the ToT's and the other filled with "food" for the... main attraction. This "food" will pretty much consist of candy, jell-o, gummies, and so on, so it will be 100% edible. This is to ensure that the ones being "fed" can actually eat it, but also to ensure that any curious ToT's can safely take a nibble without fear of illness.

It has been brought to my attention that this may violate food handling laws - distributing candy on Halloween is okay because it's packaged and sealed. What about other foods? I don't think anyone would complain, especially since the "food" isn't actually for the ToT's, but is edible just in case they get curious.

What do you guys think about it?
 

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Let me see if I understand this, the other "food" will be just candy? Will this just be done on Halloween? Is ther any kind of food that would need to be kept hot or cold?
 

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You are probably fairly safe if you are not charging for anything including entry into the haunt. It would carry the same risk as inviting folks to your home for a party. If you are charging then you will fall under your states food handling regulations.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
If I stick with the jell-o idea, it will need to remain refrigerated (some ice underneath will do the trick). I may stick with less-messy alternatives, though. I guess it won't be too much of a problem, but the last thing I want is to get in trouble on Halloween night for passing out candy!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Perhaps it was in regards to the possibility of making kids sick but my insurance agent told me that I couldn't serve food other than packaged candy.
People on my street still send out cookies, rice crispy treats, baggies of candy corn, and a number of other non-packaged foods. I guess for small-scale haunts, it's more frowned upon than it is illegal, but larger haunts will always run a higher risk of attracting lawsuits and complaints just because of the sheer number of visitors. I'll look into it more online - I'm sure someone out there has had questions about this, especially with the whole razorblade-apple scare a few years ago.
 

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Hauntless
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Yes - it's not illegal and you are right that it was because we had a bigger haunt. I was initially checking with him to see if we were covered in case of a lawsuit and he specifically said to not serve homemade foods (also don't advertise). The insurance wouldn't cover if someone became ill.
 

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His name is Roger Clyne
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If you aren't selling the food you should be OK. It's only when food is sold for a profit (even if you are a non-profit like a church or fire dept.) that you have to get into food handling laws & other safety issues in general.

If you decided to give out homemade cookies at Halloween that's fine too & pretty much the same thing. Though I doubt with today's paranoia about everything & the proverbial Razor Blade/Poisoned Candy Boogeyman that never really existed but became a self-fulfilling urban legend, most people would just trash it.
 

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If I understand correctly, there will be piles of "food", probably representing worms, innards and body organs, etc. that someone might pull a chunk off of and consume. I guess my concern is dirty, nostil-searching, pink eye-rubbing digits digging around in food that others are meant to eat...
 

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Yes, while it might be okay to have unpackaged foods in your non profit haunt (I am unsure of the rules for that), it's still a health hazard to leave uncovered food out that someone might eat. So many people touching it (leaving germs), dirt, bugs and other airborne contaminates...I would suggest having everything covered, maybe under neat clear glass/plastic covers or such...and things that need to be kept cold or warm wold need to be addressed, as well, for food safety if you do plan on leaving it all open to touch. I personally wouldn't let random strangers, especially small children, touch or eat the food, legal or not. I wouldn't want to be responsible for a little kid getting sick. Even if it's not technically illegal, if someone gets sick, and they think your haunt was the cause, it's possible it could still cause you problems if the parents get mad and all the problems that could arise from that...
If you are unsure, you could always call your local county department and ask what your guidelines should be!
 

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His name is Roger Clyne
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Each state is diff. By Serv-safe regs (national laws for food handling) that jello or other food items would need to be covered or wrapped up. The best suggestion my professional stand point. Don't do it. Play it safe.
 

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I agree with a lot of the posts. Check with your local health department to see what the local laws are - even if you're not selling or asking for donations. My DH (Darling Hubby) and I are a competition BBQ team and often, at competitions, you can't even offer tastes of your 'Q to anyone not on the team. We always end up with lots of "judges' rejects" and even more "honorary" team members!

If you don't know who to contact in your area, check out the www.foodsafety.gov website for a link to your state.
 
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