Halloween is coming up! That means carving pumpkins, decorations, costumes, and a lot of candy.
As candy appears in all the stores, it’s a good time for families who have food allergies to think about how they are going to approach trick or treating this year. Food Allergy Canada has some great advice which I’m here to elaborate and expand upon. First of all yes, it is important that to make sure that children with allergies are carrying their epi-pen when they go out for the night. Also make sure that if you are not accompanying them,that they go with people who understand their needs.
Ensure that your child has an emergency plan in case of a reaction. But while caution is important, there’s no reason for children with food allergies not to have fun on Halloween.
1. Consider offering non-food items for trick or treaters. Things like stickers or glowsticks can be a great alternative to candy. If you do choose to go this route, then you can participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project! All you have to do is paint your pumpkin teal, to indicate to trick-or-treaters that your door is giving away non-food goodies that night.
2. Talk to your immediate neighbors. You can either ask them to join in the Teal Pumpkin Project, or you can explain the situation, and give them safe treats for your child ahead of time.
3. Do Halloween a little differently. Children who are allergic to most of the common Halloween candies can still go trick or treating. A great way to keep them involved is to create a barter system! Buy your own supply of treats you know your children can have ahead of time. At the end of the night when they unload their haul of treats, let them trade in the unsafe candy for sweets they can eat.
4. Incorporate a teaching moment. If there are some candies they can keep from their pile, and only some that are unsafe, this is a good opportunity to go over ingredient labels, helping your child pick out safe candy.
Halloween with food allergies can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. Consider using these tips, but also talk to your children! Ask them what they would like, or what they feel comfortable with. As a final tip, if it is a lot of candy to dispose of, and you do not wish to eat a thousand tiny chocolate bars yourself, then consider taking the candy to a food bank or charity instead of throwing it in the trash.