Does this resemble your face at the thought of Halloween?
For many families with food allergic children, the ghost, ghouls and goblins aren’t the problem on October 31st. Instead, it’s the tiny little packages filled with peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, egg and milk that can strike fear in our hearts and stop us in our tracks….but they don’t have to.
I’ve been trick-or-treating with my kids for over a decade and would like to share some of the ideas I have read about and used in the past that have been helpful to our family in order to take the fright out of Halloween.
- Feed children first! Full tummies may find candy less tempting
- Enforce a “No eating” policy while trick-or-treating
- Take along EpiPens (nothing different here), cell phone and flashlight
- Have fun!
We always follow the 4 tips listed above. When the kids were very young, they would visit 5 or 10 houses and were pooped! Some of our neighbors, who were aware of their allergies, would give them safe candy or non-food treats.
Each year, we come home and dump out all of the candy on the family room floor and the kids make two piles. One pile is for the “safe” candy and the other is for the “unsafe” candy, which is removed from the house. After the sorting process, I double check the piles and every year I am so pleased to see that they make more and more correct choices.
Although this may not be safe if your child is sensitive to contact, I believe the process of allowing them to determine what is and isn’t safe, with your guidance as necessary, is important since they will not always be with you and must learn to make these types of decisions on their own.
Still looking for more ideas? How about these food allergy friendly suggestions…
- Give safe treats to neighbors to hand out to your children
- Institute a Halloween Fairy/Witch or other type of bartering system where the kids trade candy for safe candy, toys, books, gift certificates etc.
- Have a Halloween or Harvest party instead of trick or treating
- Trick or Treat for a charity
- Have a treasure hunt at your house or in your yard with safe treats
- Have the Great Pumpkin visit overnight and leave safe candy or exchange candy
- Attend a special theme park, sporting event, aquarium or the zoo around Halloween
- Watch a movie such as It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown
Halloween doesn’t have to be frightening. Hopefully some of these food allergy tips will keep you from being the “middle guy” and allow you to have FUN with your kids!
Wishing you and your family a safe and…