Allergy Shmallergy

Simplifying life for families with food allergies.

Day of the Dead Halloween Party October 25, 2016

Disclaimer: Allergy Shmallergy received these goods in exchange for an honest review.  I only feature products that I use myself and believe would be useful to the food allergy community.

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Trick or Treat banner from Oriental Trading

 

 

Halloween is almost here!  I hope you are all busy painting and decorating your teal pumpkins.  Teal pumpkins are a great way to let food allergy families know that you support them by offering non-food treats.  And by now, you all know that Oriental Trading has an enormous selection of non-food treats to fill your Halloween buckets.  These trick-or-treat items have a huge impact on kids with food allergies who often cannot collect almost any candy.  Food allergic kids can feel very left out at Halloween which is why it’s important to find ways for everyone to have fun safely.

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My middle son sporting a pair of glow in the dark vampire fangs…

[Oriental Trading supports the Teal Pumpkin project.  Check out their Halloween selection here.]

 

And, don’t forget to check their coupon page (you never know!):  Oriental Trading Coupon & Promo Page

 

We have a tradition of hosting an annual Halloween party at our house.  I began this as a way of ensuring that my son had plenty to eat and lots to celebrate when he was a young trick-or-treater.  Initially, he was allergic to so many foods that I couldn’t find a single candy he could enjoy safely.

 

I’m happy to report that he has since outgrown a few allergies.  Most candy is still off limits to him.  But surrounded by great friends at a pre-trick-or-treat dinner and post-candy-swap, he doesn’t mind.   Every year, the party grows and grows to include more families and more fun!

 

This year, I’ve create a Day of the Dead themed Halloween table.

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The playful patterns and colorful sugar skulls dress up any table.  Check out the cups!

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I couldn’t resist these plates and napkins – so I infused a little of the traditional Halloween with the addition of these irresistible black and white plates and napkins.

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Just like an outfit, accessories can make a table.  This sugar skull bowl and small skulls were a great addition to the black and whites at play.

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Are you looking at this table runner?!  You can’t quite tell from the photos, but it has spiders at the center of the webs and glitters in the light.  And, that pumpkin?!  I’ll be using it on my table through Thanksgiving!

 

 

I also picked out this silicone mold – which can be used for ice or to dress up snacks!

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Here’s a list of the items I used to create my Day of the Dead Halloween table:

 

Day of the Dead Candy Dish

Glittered Spider Table Runner

Foam Orange Pumpkin

Skull & Crossbones Ice Cube Tray

Skulls

“Trick or Treat” Halloween Cardboard Pennant Banner

Spider Web Dinner Plates

Large Polka Dots Dessert Plates

Boo Beverage Napkins

Day of the Dead Disposable Cups

Glow-in-the-Dark Vampire Teeth

Colorful Halloween Spider Rings

Day of the Dead Skull Wall Decoration

 

 

Now that the table – and the mood – are set, stay tuned later this week to see what I’m serving!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Little More Halloween Magic with The Switch Witch October 19, 2015

Let’s face it:  candy makes Halloween magical for most kids.  As a kid, when else do your parents let you go out after dark and collect candy from your neighbors?  It’s heaven!

Unless you have food allergies.  And then it’s fraught with danger and uncertainty.  Not only is candy laden with dairy and nuts, but wheat, soy and eggs are all potential pitfalls for families with food allergies.  Ingredient lists are often missing – or extremely hard to read – on small, packaged candy.  And what may be safe to eat in a larger size is sometimes no longer safe when miniaturized due to manufacturing practices. Even when candy does not contain a particular allergen, it’s often processed on equipment that poses a risk.

Nothing is more fun-ending for a kid than realizing most of your candy isn’t safe to enjoy – except, of course, having a food allergy reaction.  There have been many years when my son’s “Trade” pile was larger than his “Keep.”

Switch Witch

Enter The Switch Witch.  At bedtime on Halloween night, tired and over-sugared kids can leave a heap of their Halloween candy out with their Switch Witch doll.  While they’re sleeping, the Switch Witch trades their stash for a special gift.  It’s brilliant!  Whether, like us, you have a child with food allergies whose Halloween candy isn’t safe for him or -also like us- your kids are just super-stellar candy collectors who have amassed way too much unhealthy sugar, the Switch Witch extends the excitement of Halloween.  This is a great way for food allergic children to have fun trick-or-treating, knowing that their milk and nut-filled loot will be traded for a satisfying surprise.

I’m getting on board this craze now!  It’s sure to be fun for ALL my kids.

 

[I feel like I need to say it for the record, but I get nothing from the genius that is Switch Witch.  This is not a sponsored post.  There are affiliate links within the article – a portion of which will benefit AllergyStrong, an organization that supports at-risk and low income families with food allergies.  Thank you and enjoy!]

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Valentine’s Day: Safe List of Nut-Free Candy February 4, 2015

If your sweetheart is allergic to peanuts or tree nuts, be very careful what you’re giving them for Valentine’s Day.  Candy is certainly not an essential part of Valentine’s Day, but if it’s on the menu you’ll want to make sure you’re giving them a safe treat rather than a trip to the ER.

The Bay Area Allergy Advisory Board compiles a list of peanut and tree nut free candy that could save the day!   As always, double check the ingredient lists to verify that there have been no changes in ingredient lists or manufacturing practices.  And, pay particular attention to candy that has been miniaturized or made larger as that often has manufacturing (and therefore, food allergy) implications.  Some of the items are available online but many are commercially available.  Among the many items they list, are:

  • Skittles
  • Dum Dum lollipops
  • Haribo Gummies
  • Peeps (I’ll remind you of this one in another couple of months)
  • Laffy Taffy
  • Wonka’s Nerds
  • Dubble Bubble
  • SweeTarts
  • Twizzlers
  • Tootsie Pops and Tootsie Rolls
  • Rolo
  • Starburst Fruit Chews, Lollipops, and Jelly Beans
  • Junior Mints
  • Lifesavers
  • Sour Patch Kids
  • Hershey’s plain chocolate kisses (not King Size or Holiday/Seasonal Bags)
  • Hershey’s plain chocolate bar personal size only (not King Size or Minis)
  • Smarties
  • Hot Tamales

Peruse the full list here:

The Bay Area Allergy Advisory Board’s 2015 List of Peanut and Tree Nut Free Candy

           

 

Halloween, Safety and Teal Pumpkins October 24, 2014

Filed under: Holiday,Preparedness — malawer @ 11:45 am
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  • Teal Pumpkin Decoration For Food Allergy Awareness
 

Halloween is a particularly tricky time for kids with food allergies.  I’m always amazed at how many houses give out treats laden with peanuts, tree nuts and other common allergens.  Although my son understands that he can get safe candy from me when the trick-or-treat is a no-go, it’s hard not to be disappointed for him.   Holidays routinely make kids with food allergies feel left out and Halloween is king among them.

 

There ARE a few things you can do to make this Halloween safe and pure fun:

 

1.  Carry a variety of safe treats for your child to choose from so that he/she can get a replacement treat when the neighbor’s doesn’t cut it;

2.  Always carry your epinephrine while you trick-or-treat and remind your child NOT to eat any candy until you get home to ensure its safety;

3.  Don’t forget to read the labels of even candy you know to be safe.  When miniaturized, manufacturers often use shared equipment that isn’t a problem at the candy’s regular size package.   Read, read and re-read;

4.  Always carry your cell phone.  In addition to taking adorable shots of your kids sprinting from house to house, you may want to have it with you in the unlikely event that a reaction occurs.

 

And, look for houses with TEAL PUMPKINS.  The non-profit Food Allergy Research Education (FARE) is encouraging families who are offering non-food treats to place a teal pumpkin on their doorstep to let kids with food allergies know that they can safely trick or treat at your house. Read more about the Teal Pumpkin Project here.

 

In that vein, here are some great non-food options to offer.  Order today so that they’ll arrive before Halloween!

 
 
                                       

Glow in the Dark Vampire Teeth

Glow In The Dark Fangs - 12 per pack

Mini cans of Play-Doh

GlowStick Bracelets

Slap Bracelets

Head Boppers (remember these,  parents?!!  Flashback!)

Flashing Rings (for the Pop Princesses that visit) 

EYE BOUNCE BALL

Bouncing Eyeballs

Creepy Glow Fingers

Zombie Eye Patches

  • US Toy Glow Witch Fingers CostumeZombie Eye Patches

 
 

 

 

Happy Haunting, everyone!

 

(Thank you in advance! A portion of the proceeds of the affiliate links go toward AllergyStrong.org – an organization aimed at helping low income and at risk families with food allergies.)

 

Sweetheart Sorbet Pie January 27, 2014

Hello, everyone!

Another candy-based holiday is around the corner.  A wonderful time, unless you have food allergies… and then creating a special treat can be quite a challenge!  And that’s where Sweetheart Sorbet Pie comes in!

 

I created this when my son announced that he didn’t really care for cake.  And that meant no more cupcakes either… (Sigh!)

 

Thinking about how much I loved ice cream cake, we invented sorbet pie!  It’s quick, easy, delicious and appropriate for all kinds of special occasions – or for no reason at all.

 

Ingredients:

 

2 pints of your favorite, safe sorbet

1 9-inch graham cracker pie crust

Berries, sprinkles, safe dairy-free chocolate chips (optional)

 

 Step 1:  Gather your ingredients and let your sorbet sit out for about 5-10 minutes.

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Step 2:  When soft, stir the sorbet either in its container or in a bowl.

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Step 3:  When slightly melted and malleable, scoop into the pie crust and spread using the back of a spoon or soft spatula.

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Step 4:  Continue to add sorbet and spread until the pie crust is filled.  Smooth out top.

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Step 5:  Should you wish, add berries, dairy-free chocolate chips, sprinkles or any other type of deliciousness you can think of… and then freeze for at least 2 hours.

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Step 6:  Let thaw for a few minutes, slice and enjoy with your big and/or little sweethearts!

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Halloween and Food Allergies October 28, 2012

  

Halloween tends to make parents of food allergic children fairly tense.  And, with good reason:  so much peanut-laden and dairy-filled  candy!  So much of it unlabeled in those small snack sizes!

 

Most of us aren’t used to our children being around such an abundant amount of their allergens and we worry how they will feel.

 

But there are a few simple ways to keep kids safe during trick-or-treat time!

 

1.  Have a talk with your kids about the various candies that are not be safe for them.  It’s important to have this discussion before heading out the door on their sugar scavenger hunt so they can make wise decisions when grabbing goodies from plastic pumpkins.

 

2.  Also, remind your child not to eat ANY candy along the way.  All candy consumption should be done under your supervision and ideally, back at a house.

 

3.  If you’ll be trick-or-treating with your child, remember to bring their Emergency On-the-Go-Pack (with EpiPens) and a cellphone in addition to a flashlight. I have often brought a grocery bag to stick any peanutty treats in as we go.

 

4.  Stock up on allergy-friendly candy (or fun Halloween toys, like glow rings and plastic spiders) for your child and let them know you have their favorite treats on hand.  You have several options to work with here:

a.  If you know the neighbors well, it’s a great idea to plant some safe candy around the neighborhood so that your child can get the full experience of trick-or-treating and you get the peace of mind that they’re receiving treats they can enjoy.

b.  If you have a young child, you can follow them door to door and just slip one into your child’s bag in lieu of an allergic treat.

c.  In the case of older kids:  they can exchange their UNsafe loot for safe candy at the end of the night.  Knowing that they have a safe option at home will ensure they have a great time trick-or-treating and prevent them from feeling disappointed if house after house is handing out Peanut M&Ms, for example.

 

5.  Finally, make the fun and inevitable candy swap work for your child’s allergy!  A supervised candy swap can serve your food allergic child well!  Make a pile of all the candy he/she is allergic to and/or doesn’t prefer and let him trade away for things that are safe.  They can either trade with friends (again, under your supervision) or swap with the safe candy/treats you purchased!  Everyone wins!

 

Individually wrapped candy (often in snack sizes) don’t always have ingredient information.  Make the internet your friend in making sure candy is safe for your child:

 

Happy Halloween!

 

How Now Java Cow? March 27, 2012

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Unfortunately, we didn’t get as lucky for dessert (see I Ride Park City for previous post)….

 

We had checked out this adorable ice cream shop earlier in the day and were thrilled to see it served multiple flavors of dairy-free sorbet.
Of course, it was all too easy!

 

When my son and I returned after dinner, we were dismayed to learn that all of their ice cream and sorbet flavors are made on the same equipment.  Which meant they were ALL off-limits to us.  A huge bummer!

 

I’ll admit it: I was more disappointed than my son. Java Cow ice cream smelled delicious and seemed so cute.  If you’re not avoiding peanuts or tree nuts, go for it for me!