Allergy Shmallergy

Simplifying life for families with food allergies.

Creating a Halloween for EVERYONE October 19, 2017


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 – an organization aimed at helping at risk families with food allergies.)


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!]



Halloween, Safety and Teal Pumpkins October 24, 2014

Filed under: Holiday,Preparedness — malawer @ 11:45 am
Tags: , , , , , , , ,


  • 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) 


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 – an organization aimed at helping low income and at risk families with food allergies.)


Take a Few Minutes BEFORE You Go — Trick or Treat Preparation October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!


Trick-or-treating is upon us and no one in my house can wait another second.  So, before we head out tonight I will double check MY Trick-or-Treat bag to make sure I have everything we’ll need.


Today, my bag contains:


1.  My son’s Emergency On-the-Go Kit (Allergy Shmallergy’s Emergency On-the-Go Pack), including EpiPens, dissolvable Benadryl, and small scissors;


2.  Safe candy that can serve as a replacement for milk, egg, tree nut, and peanut (and sesame, if anyone offers that)-laden candy that he can’t have.  As you can imagine, there’s a lot of allergy-producing candy out there.  I try to keep allergen candy out of his bag to begin with by popping one of our safe alternatives into his bag at the front door of any house offering only unsafe treats.  Some of my safe alternatives include non-candy items like temporary tattoos, fake spiders, etc.

 3.  A cell phone.  In theory, for emergencies; but more likely to be used to send Halloween photos to my parents.


4.   An extra plastic bag for storing unsafe treats that inevitably wind up with my son.  I do try my best to keep the allergens away, but sometimes a few find their way into his treat bag.   I remove them as we walk from house to house and put them in another bag and usually pass them on to another parent.


5.  Flashlights and glow sticks.  Flashlights help me watch where I’m going; glow sticks let me watch where my kids are going.


Don’t forget to arm your FA child with language to politely refuse unsafe treats and remind them not to eat ANYTHING until you’ve made sure it’s safe at home.  I also review our family Halloween protocol with my kids which is:  if there isn’t a safe candy my son can choose, I will have one for him.  Never fear, safe treats are here!


At least, we’re well prepared and have a good plan for dealing with food allergies at Halloween.  Keeping up with my son will be the latest challenge we face this year.  (He’s almost 7 now and literally RUNS from house to house!  Better wear my running shoes!)


How do you prepare for trick-or-treating?


Halloween Haunt Supports FAAN October 27, 2011

Just wanted to point out that Julie Fanning, of FAAN has created a fabulous Halloween haunt just outside of Washington, DC.  “I got to thinking,” she writes, “about the kids who can’t enjoy some – or most – of what they get in their sacks after trick-or-treating.”  So she created a non-food based way to enjoy Halloween.  And, in addition to offering non-food treats at her haunt, she’ll be collecting donations for FAAN.


Check out her spooktacular creation, Windy Hill Cemetery, online or in person if you live in Bristow, VA.  If, like most of us, you’re not in her neighborhood, I’m sure you’ll be inspired by her creative way to include all children in Halloween trick-or-treating.

For more information about you can help raise funds and awareness for FAAN, please see Trick-or-Treat for Food Allergy.