Allergic to Halloween: Tips for kids with food allergies (FREE PRINTABLE)

My favorite part of Halloween is most definitely the candy. That's pretty much all I've ever thought about on Halloween: "Get candy, get candy, get candy."

But what if the candy on Halloween isn't so much of an exciting, yummy treat but is instead a terrifying, scary threat to your child's health?

That's how I'm feeling this Halloween. My daughter is allergic to milk, eggs, peanuts, and treenuts... So for me and my family, Halloween is even more frightening than ghosts and goblins; It is as horrifying as an allergic reaction. 

So what can I do? How can I make Halloween fun again? 

Here are some tips for taking the epipen-scare out of Halloween...

1. Tell your neighbors about The Teal Pumpkin Project

Have you heard of this project? I love it! FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education) has started something where we can paint pumpkins teal to let kids with allergies (and their parents) know that we have allergy-friendly and/or non-food treats (instead of the normal fun-size chocolate peanut-y candy bars seen so often on Halloween). Isn't that awesome!?

I'll be participating this year at my own home, and reaching out to my neighbors to try to spread awareness.

And for you lucky ghouls,  I have created a FREE printable sign for you to put up outside your home!
(I laminated mine and taped it to a large paint stirring stick that I picked up for free at Home Depot)

2. Teach your kids what's safe to eat

Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to food allergies. On Halloween our kids don't want us hovering over them like bats checking out each piece of candy they take! Kids want to go off with their friends, or at least go to the door by themselves. They also want to be able to eat a piece or two of candy as they trick-or-treat.

And let's face it... the ingredient lists on those fun-size treats are not exactly reader-friendly (in fact, many fun size treats don't even list the ingredients on the individual packaging). I LOVE how Missy from Marketing Mama teaches her kids which treats are safe. 

She created a printable that listed which candies were safe for her child (in pictures) so her daughter could recognize what Halloween candy she can/cannot have.

The list is customized to Missy's daughter, so you're likely going to have to make your own, or at least edit it. Visit her blog for more info for how she made the list!

Teach your kids to look for the teal pumpkins, to reach for candy they know they can eat, and to only eat candy if they are SURE it is safe.

3. When in doubt...Don't Eat it!

This is a very important lesson we can teach our kids with food-allergies for every day... but is especially important on Halloween when you have to let go of the reigns a little bit. 

I love how Hayley Morales illustrates this point in her picture book Donuts and Sprinkles, Oh My!
You can check out my full review HERE... but the gist of it is that little Hay wants to get a donut with her friend. But Hay knows she is allergic to nuts... 

"Is a donut a nut?" she asks.

Since she doesn't know the answer, she doesn't eat the donut until she finds out FOR SURE that a donut is safe for her to eat. 

When in doubt... don't eat it!

Make this your family mantra.

4. Make Trades

A great way to help kids not feel left out on Halloween is to trade their not safe candy for safe candy.

Any kid that spends all night trick-or-treating isn't going to want to give up their haul... even if it is full of nuts and dairy...

SO. Have a bag of safe candy at home and TRADE with them! Go through their stash piece by piece. Decide together what is safe/not safe (with you as the ultimate judge of course). Then let them pick from the safe candy what they want as a trade for each piece...

Plus side... mom and dad get a whole bucket of Reese's without a fuss ;)

5. Keep your Epi-pen handy

I know none of us want to be in this situation...but it is always important to keep your epi-pen in an easy to access spot when your child has food allergies, especially when you're trick-or-treating. I would hate if my child snuck a bite of a chocolate, nutty candy while I wasn't looking and I had to run back home through the crowds of costumed-kiddos to get her Epi-pen! 
Don't even take that chance! As prepared as we will be, we never know what could happen. And with a child with food allergies, that's a bet you don't want to take! 

Keep your Epi-pen with you or with your child (if he/she is trick-or-treating on his own). Make sure your group knows who has the epi, and the signs of an allergic reaction (and make sure you're child knows what to do if he/she is not with you). 

Be sure to watch for signs during and after trick-or-treating. Even if you child doesn't eat any of his/her allergens, cross contamination is always a possibility from those big bags of candy. 

We can all still have a fun, SAFE, Halloween this year. And still eat lots of candy! The most important thing is to BE PREPARED. 

Let's keep our kiddos safe and spread some allergy-awareness in our neighborhoods with the #TealPumpkinProject!



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