October 31st can be a daunting night for many parents, specifically if their children have food allergies. No one wants their kids to feel left out or like they can't enjoy the same fun trick-or-treating as everyone else. I know this firsthand, as my younger son is allergic to nuts and let's just say there are a lot of candy bars made with nuts or with traces of them in the ingredients. So, this year, I decided to consult my friends at Food for My Friends--a newly launched interactive online environment where members can create and share personal food profiles and recipes to ensure that every meal (or treat) can be enjoyed by all, no matter their medical restriction or food lifestyle choice. Below they provided some excellent tips and ideas that will keep the spirit of Halloween alive, while ensuring your child remains healthy and safe.
• Throw a Halloween party at home. Invite parents and kids through www.foodformyfriends.com which provides the ability to view each child's dietary restrictions. Dress up, decorate, and serve the treats that everyone can enjoy!
• Candy swap for allergen safe treats with siblings or other kids at school with parental supervision. Everyone comes away happy!
• Form a scavenger hunt within your neighborhood. Alert neighbors ahead of time that you will be hiding treats around their homes for your child to find. You can form a group through www.foodformyfriends.com.
• Put together a care package of your child's treats to send to soldiers at Operation Gratitude Halloween Candy.
• Buy back unsafe candy (individual pieces or entire bags) for coins/cash or that toy they've been begging for.
• Have your kids assist with a Halloween costume party at a local hospital and provide allergen-safe candy to hand out in goodie bags .
• Allow kids to leave their unsafe candies out for the "Good Witch" to collect and leave behind small gifts and safe treats in return.
• Know Your Treats! Read all labels, as the snack-size or bite-size candy may have different ingredients or may be manufactured on different machinery than their full size counterparts. Never allow your child to accept baked or homemade goods since there's no surefire way to identify ingredients or how it was handled.
• Remember to think about face paint and makeups too. Some contain soy or nut oils, so use caution.
Have any allergen-safe Halloween suggestions? Leave a comment below. Wishing everyone a safe and happy Halloween!