There’s no question that Halloween is a particularly frightening time for food-allergic kids and their parents. But all kids want to enjoy the fun of trick or treating, including those with food allergies. And they can, as long as they steer clear of the foods that pose a risk for them. It helps if there are some allergy-friendly neighbors around.
To spread awareness, Enjoy Life Foods, North America’s leader in allergy-friendly foods, teamed up with Gina Clowes of AllergyMoms. They put together some allergy-aware guidance to make trick or treating safe and fun for every princess and superhero in the neighborhood. We originally shared these tips way back in 2008, but have updated this post with additional tips.
9 Tips to be Allergy-Friendly Neighbor for Halloween
Don’t be frightened if a food-allergic ghost or goblin comes knocking on their door. There are easy ways to be a part of their safe Halloween experience.
If you know of children in the neighborhood with food allergies, ask their parents what types of candies are safe. They’ll be thrilled to know you care.
Keep a stash of “safe candy” or fun trinkets.
Pick up an assortment of safe candies, like Enjoy Life Minis. Also, have fun trinkets on hand such as bubbles, Silly Putty, tattoos, stickers, spider rings and bracelets. See our list of 15 Food-Free Halloween Treats created by a milk allergy teen and her mom. Kids with food allergies or intolerances will be grateful to receive something they can actually enjoy.
If you know a child has food allergies, don’t ask “Oh, you’re the one with the peanut allergy, right?” Kids want to fit in and don’t like to be singled out.
Everyone loves ingredient labels.
Give out candy with clear ingredient labels so parents and children can decide which candies are safe.
Don’t drop candy into kids’ bags.
Allow each child to select his or her candy. More often than not, they’ll know which candies are safe and which aren’t.
Listen to the children.
If a child says “No thank you,” it may be because they don’t see a safe option in what’s being offered. Don’t make a fuss by insisting they take candy that may not be safe for them.
Parents know best.
Don’t assume that peanut allergy is the only allergy. There are many types of food allergies and food intolerances, so it’s important to let parents decide what candy is safe for their child.
Think of your guests.
If you’re entertaining for Halloween, don’t leave candy dishes unattended and be mindful of children “stashing” candy. Young children with food allergies may be easily tempted by “unsafe” candy.
Put out a teal sign.
If you’ve decided to be a food allergy-friendly neighbor, put out a teal pumpkin or sign. The Teal Pumpkin Project is a national way to indicate participation as an allergy aware home. You can put your house on the map, so food allergic kids can feel safe visiting. They also have Teal Pumpkin Printables, which can be displayed at your home.