Do you remember the days growing up when your parents were worried about razor blades in apples? If you were given an apple, it went straight in the trash, even if there were no knife marks! Or candy that was partially unwrapped went in the trash too. If only unwrapped candy and razor blades were our biggest trick-or-treat fears today (not to downplay those risks though). The big issue for many of us (4-5 million of us) is the fear that our child will eat something to which he or she is allergic.
A reader recently posted a question on Facebook about how to help her food allergy child enjoy trick-or-treat.
Just wondering how you handle halloween. This will be [my daughters] first year to participate and I am thinking she won’t be able to eat anything with a dairy/soy food coloring allergy. Thought you might have some ideas for something I could “stash” so she doesn’t feel left out.
The fun time that is had by children and parents alike on this festive candy day does not have to be diminished too much by the presence of food allergies. Let me first tell you how we have dealt with food allergies on Halloween, then give you recommendations that I have heard elsewhere.
Here is my number one suggestion to all of you who hand out candy and don’t have to deal with food allergies: Be kind and pass out allergy-friendly candy or toys/stickers!!! Food allergy parents and kids will be so appreciative of this.
I saw no need to take my son out trick-or-treating when he was young. He and I hung out together handing out candy while big sister and daddy went for the candy. But when he was 2, I finally let him go on his first treating trip. One rule that we have in our house is that you don’t eat any candy until you get home and let us look it over. At that young of an age, many kids are a little frightened of the whole costume thing, so they aren’t all eager to run to and fro on a quest to attain the most and best candy. Even now that this is more of my son’s mission, he understands the risks involved and follows the “no candy until home” rule.
Our Allergy Home Trick-or-Treat Tips:
- My son will tell people that he can’t have that candy bar when they offer it. Sometimes they have an alternative candy.
- If your child is young, go to the door with him/her and help pick out the candy.
- If necessary, explain the food allergies to the neighbor.
- Always remember to say “thank you”.
- When you get home, have a time of swap between siblings. My son makes a pile of all the candy he cannot have and gives it to my daughters. They will give him some of their candy in return. All under our direction.
- Stash a bag of allowed candy in your house and use it for the “swap”.
- Be sure to read all labels. NOTE: Many “fun-size” candies do not have ingredients listed or may contain different ingredients or made on cross-contaminated processing lines. Check manufacturer’s website for details.
- When in doubt about ingredients, throw it out!!! No need to take the risk over a piece of candy.
- If child is young, be sure to keep the dangerous candy out of reach.
Other Trick-or-Treating Food Allergy Tips:
- Plan an alternative activity for the night that is special or new, like a “spooky” party, movie, scavenger hunt or sleepover.
- Allow your child to do traditional trick-or-treating with costumes and neighbors, but you provide the treat along the way.
- If you know your neighbors, give them safe candy ahead of time to hand out to your child.
- You can do the swapping method that we do above, but do it throughout trick-or-treating.
- If you don’t want any candy for your child, swap it out for money or toys.
For more great ideas, visit KFA’s Take the Tricks out of Treats and download their Safe Halloween guide.
Do you any additional ideas to share with our readers on how to have a food allergy safe beggar’s night?
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