Whether your family simply follows a special diet (vegan, kosher, paleo, etc) or your child suffers from food allergies/sensitivies, Halloween can be a stressful holiday to navigate, often resulting in disappointment as children look around at their friends and feel the vast gap between them that their dietary restrictions create.
And who’s to blame them! Halloween was one of my favourite holidays growing up, despite being lactose and gluten intolerant. The costumes; the decorations; the hours shlepping around the neighbourhood looking for the most epic ‘haunted house’ and seeing who has the most original costume. And the candy; how can you not love coming home with a pillowcase filled with candy, ready to sort your loot with a reverence due the Dalai Lama. By the end of the night I knew not just what I had received, but how many of each I had and had separated out what I couldn’t eat and would trade with my brother.
Revisiting these memories now, as a mother of a little boy with egg, dairy and walnut allergies, I can’t help but imagine that his sorting process at the end of the night would be more of a whittling down the pile to a dozen or so pieces of candy and whatever chips he collected, being ready to toss or give away the rest. Doesn’t give quite the same magical ending to the evening.
So, how can we keep that magical feeling of our own Halloween memories for our all little ones, that lets them enjoy their well earned harvest at the end of the night?
I love the idea of recruiting your friends or neighbours and orchestrating an allergy safe trick or treat night, where you know the treats will be safe and your kids can enjoy the carefree spirit of the holiday with some quality loot to enjoy in the weeks that follow. Another option – arrange to trick or treat with another child who has different allergies and let the children switch out candies with each other based on what each can eat, leaving just the rejects to be tossed.
Not sure if you have enough recruits to pull something like that off? Promote FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education)’s food allergy awareness campaign the Teal Pumpkin Project to increase awareness in your neighbourhood and bring your neighbours on board to help you deliver a safe trick-or-treating environment for your child. Check out their crowd-sourced participants map to see if their are participants in your neighbourhood.
Wondering what to give out to the little monsters soon to be knocking on your door?
Here are 15 fun, kid-approved, non-food, allergy-safe Halloween treat ideas that will be a sure hit without taking too big a bite out of your wallet!
The Internet (and Pinterest!) are full of great ideas for unique ways to make your house stand out among the trick-or-treaters. Be careful with items like Playdough which, although nut-free, contains wheat.