Halloween is traditionally frightful. Between the the ghosts and zombies milling about, candy and party food shouldn’t be scary. But the chaotic and exuberant fun of Halloween can be chilling for many families with food allergies.
Parents with food allergic children are justified in worrying when their kid comes face to face with his food allergy. And, candy is full of allergens: dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, corn, egg… It’s a wonder we survive!
Here are a few ways to keep your sanity during the craziest night of the year:
- Prepare your kids: Remind them not to eat anything while they are trick-or-treating. Reading ingredient lists on tiny packages in the dark is challenging (to say the least). There’s plenty of time to taste test their candy when they get home.
- Go with them to the front door: Help little ones choose safe candy at the front door. Your presence is also a good place to reinforce all those lessons on manners while you’re there.
- Cash in the allergens: Keep a variety of safe substitute candy or treats at your house. Offer to trade your child’s unsafe candy for your pre-approved substitutes. If you’d rather your child ditch most of his candy, The Switch Witch is a fun and magical way to cash his or her candy in for a small gift.
- Be reminded that sometimes ingredients and/or manufacturing practices change when candy is miniaturized. Make sure you read ingredient lists of everything, including candy that has been safe in a larger size.
- Participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project: You’re familiar with all those wacky blue pumpkins, right?! Teal pumpkins mean that house has non-candy treats to offer for food allergic children. Move over orange, teal is the new black! You can spray paint your own pumpkin or purchase one to reuse, like this one:
6. Stock toys AS treats: Instead of candy (or in addition to safe candy), consider stocking fun toys and tattoos. Even kids might admit that there is a limit to the amount of sugar they can consume and something that will last past Nov. 1st will be fun! This Halloween set gives you a variety of toys in one order – bonus!
7. Don’t leave home without it: Auto-injectors need to go everywhere with you – including trick-or-treating. You know they’ll be carrying a bag! Make sure that your child’s epinephrine auto-injector is in there with a flashlight.
8. Allergy Shmallergy’s list of safe candy: Sharing a holiday builds community. Refer your friends and neighbors to Allergy Shmallergy’s list of nut-free candy to truly create an inclusive Halloween that EVERYONE can enjoy!
(Thank you in advance! A portion of the proceeds of the affiliate links go toward AllergyStrong.org – an organization aimed at helping at risk families with food allergies.)