Allergy Shmallergy

Simplifying life for families with food allergies.

Creating a Halloween for EVERYONE October 19, 2017

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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:

 

  1. 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.
  2.  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.
  3. 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.

     

  4. 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.
  5. 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:

     

    • Teal Pumpkin Decoration For Food Allergy Awareness
    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!

 

  • 156 Piece Mega Halloween Toy Novelty Assortment; 12 Halloween Ducks, 12 Halloween Pencils, 12 Halloween Sticker Sheets; 48 Halloween Erasers; 72 Halloween Glitter Tattoos!!

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.)

 

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!