I never thought much about kids with allergies until my daughter was diagnosed with hers (peanuts, tree nuts, and bananas – of all things). Her first official Halloween, we took her door-to-door trick or treating only to discover a sad little cow who couldn’t eat any of her loot when we got home. From that point on, my husband and I made a promise to ourselves that we would always remember to bring a “back up” treat bag on Halloween.
Here are a few “Pro Tips” from an insider’s point of view on how to make Halloween allergy-friendly for all the little ghouls and goblins that ring your doorbell:
- Consider non-candy items. This might seem like a cop-out, but Marleigh loves the treats she gets that are non-edible! Think mini coloring books, crayons, pencils, stickers, temporary tattoos, etc. These items will become little keepsakes that the kids can enjoy much longer than a chocolatey treat.
- Keep a separate “Allergy-friendly” bowl. It might take an extra 5 minutes of prep time, but I can guarantee you will make parents’ days if you put some peanut-free treats in a separate Trick or Treat bowl (and mark it as such). Marleigh’s favorites have always been Sour Patch Kids, Smarties, Skittles, and Swedish Fish. Things like fruit snacks, pretzels, and juice boxes would work well, too!
- Hit up the neighborhood beforehand. This is a tip for the parents of kids with allergies. If you live in a smaller neighborhood, try to prep your neighbors and make them aware of the fact that your little one has an allergy to certain foods. You would be surprised the lengths people are be willing to go to in order to ensure children’s happiness on Halloween! (Looking at you, E. Amherst crew! You guys are the best!)
- Set out the teal pumpkin. Last year, this initiative really took off! Signal to Trick or Treaters that you’re an allergy-friendly and inclusive stop by setting a teal pumpkin out on your doorstep. You can learn more about the teal pumpkin here.
- When in doubt, bring an extra treat bag! Another one for parents. In case you can’t convince your neighbors to go out for extra candy and treats (or don’t feel comfortable even asking!), bring an extra treat bag for your kiddo to enjoy when they get home. Pack the spare treat bag with their favorites and try to make a smooth transition from the treats they actually got and the treats you’re exchanging them for – just in case they have their minds set on eating the treats they earned for themselves.
Remember poor little Charlie Brown and all the rocks he received on Halloween? That’s how kids with allergies feel when you stick a Snickers or Payday in their plastic pumpkins. Sad, right? It seems simple, but taking these few steps can help ensure your little ones can enjoy the holiday and not feel left out of the fun!
A version of this post originally appeared on lifebytheGills.com
WRITTEN BY SAMANTHA JO
Samantha is the founder and owner of BuffaloMoms.com. Her friends call her Sam, Sammi, or Sammi Jo. Her two favorite people call her “Mommy.” Follow along with her ramblings on Twitter and Instagram, or on her personal blog, life by the Gills.