Food Allergy Friendly Halloween Ideas

teal-pumpkinThe number one way you can show food allergy families you care is by participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project. The idea was created in 2012 by Becky Basalone, executive director for a local food allergy support group affiliated with FARE. The idea is simple, by posting a sign or placing a small teal pumpkin at your house, you can alert those with food allergies or sensitivities that you are offering a candy-alternative. Inexpensive items can be found at dollar stores, office supply stores, Oriental Trading Company, Walmart/Target, etc. Simply place the items in a separate bowl to offer instead of or in addition to traditional Halloween candy. Such a small gesture can mean the world to an allergic kiddo (or even a picky food eater!).

Here are some non-food ideas:

  • Glow Sticks
  • Halloween-Themed Pencils and Erasers
  • Stickers
  • Mad Libs
  • Rubber Duckies
  • Wiggly Eyes
  • Spooky Plastic Spiders
  • Whistles
  • Temporary Tattoos
  • Nail Polish
  • Bubbles
  • Goofy Glasses
  • Playdough
  • Stamps
  • Pens or Crayons

As food allergy parents, there are many things we can do to help keep our kiddos safe on the big night:

  1. Play host to a Halloween party or post-trick or treating get-together. By controlling the environment, you can influence the what, where, and when of candy-eating. You can also offer lots of fun Halloween-themed games and activities to take a bit of the focus off the food. Have a toilet paper mummy-wrapping race, a Monster Mash dance party, or costume contest. Create a photo booth with Halloween-themed props. Pin the wart on the witch or the bones on a skeleton. Paint or carve pumpkins. Tell spooky stories around a fire pit.
  2. Plan to trick or treat with your children. Make sure to carry your allergy medications/inhalers including epinephrine. Bring a charged cellphone, flashlight, and wet wipes for easy hand wiping if necessary. Having a few safe treats to eat along the way is fun too!
  3. Talk with your children ahead of time to create a candy-swap or trade-in system. No candy should be eaten without the approval from mom or dad. Reading ingredients on the road is complicated; it’s dark and most snack-size treats do not have ingredients listed on them because they’re not labeled for individual resale.
  4. Consider washing hands and wiping down candy packages when you get home if you have concerns about candy residue from other children.

Allergy-friendly candy:

Our kids swap out candy that is unsafe for Bubba. Big Girl gets to keep some of her nut-free chocolate, but that is eaten separately and under supervision so we can clean up afterward. Every child (and allergy) is different. Bubba’s allergens most likely to be in Halloween candy are: peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, eggs, sesame, kiwi, and/or mango. We read labels every time, but here are candy ideas that are usually  safe for our family:

  • Starbursts
  • Skittles
  • Airheads
  • Charms Blowpops
  • Haribo Gummi Bears
  • Dum-Dums
  • Jelly Bellies
  • Fruit Snacks
  • Panda Soft Licorice, Twizzlers, Red Vines
  • Jolly Ranchers
  • Hot Tamales
  • Smarties
  • Sour Patch Kids
  • Pez
  • Now and Laters
  • Swedish Fish
  • Mike and Ikes

For those managing different and/or more allergies here are some great companies offering allergy-friendly treats:

Wondering what to do with all that unsafe candy? Donate it! Our service members and veterans would love to know others are thinking of them. Click here to learn more about Operation Gratitude.