Originally posted October 30, 2018
Updated October 26, 2020
Halloween is a stressful night as an allergy parent. It does not have to be. I have a plan to alleviate the stress and enjoy the evening!
I carry an EpiPen with me at all times. I spend much of my days thinking about my kids allergies. I read labels and carefully put together meals. I arrange with school ahead of time to bring in allergy friendly snacks for my children on special party days. I go to birthday parties with gluten and dairy free cupcakes so my children can feel included.
I am a mom of one dairy-free and two gluten-free kids.
Honestly, I avoided Halloween for the kids as long as I could. Then came the day when I just couldn’t avoid it any longer. So, we went out, not putting too much thought into it, but then came home with with all sorts of treats that they could not eat, and yet were not fully aware of why they could not eat it.
Here is my plan and I hope it helps you a bit too.
Seek Out the Teal Pumpkins
If you haven’t heard of it, the Teal Pumpkin Project mission is to is designed to promote safety, inclusion and respect of individuals managing food allergies. If you come across a teal pumpkin when trick or treating, you can feel safe knowing that the home will have allergy friendly treats. For the little ones, you can make a game out of finding the teal pumpkins. This way, they get excited about going to those homes.
Reach Out to Your Community
Hop on your Facebook group or Nextdoor for your community/development. Some communities around us have put together a list of homes that will be allergy friendly. You can make this possible in your community too. This way you know which homes to go to before you step out the door.
Get Involved With The Halloween Party
If the party is at school or a friends house. Sign up to bring something. While doing that you might also communicate to the host about your child’s allergy. This year, for our (dairy free) son’s Halloween party at school, we are bringing these yummy Frankenstein Rice Krispie Treats. They are so cute, yummy allergy friendly snack and are sure to be a hit
Talk About It
The best way to make Halloween a bit easier for allergy families is to spread the word by talking about it. I grew up with a food allergy in a day and age where allergies weren’t as common, or at least not spoken about. I have found that as I have gone along through the years that there are people out there who may not be aware. It helped a lot to talk about and share my story. Many people were very surprised about the importance of sticking to the diet and the impact of accidentally eating something that I shouldn’t. If your child is old enough, encourage them to be open about it also. If you share your story, people are very receptive.
There was a day when I felt shy to talk about my allergy. I felt like people making accommodations for me was a bother. To some extent, I still feel that way. But the funny part is that my experience has made it much easier to talk about my kid’s allergies. One day with enough sharing and talking, perhaps there will be a teal pumpkin on every doorstep.