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Halloween Treats for Everyone!

 

As the Fall season begins, many Americans are already thinking about Halloween. In fact, the store shelves have been loaded with special Halloween candy and costumes for weeks. Believe it or not, Halloween is one of most popular holidays. In 2015, Americans spent $6.9 billion in total on Halloween.

This is a pretty impressive number. While there is no question that watching kids – and adults for that matter –dressing up in costumes ranging from the simple ghost to the elaborate Star Wars creatures, and everything in between, is great fun, nonetheless the holiday can be very dangerous for anyone with a food related allergy.  Princesses and witches, monsters and hobos, all can fall victim if they are vulnerable to these situations.

 

There are several nonprofit organizations that post information about how to keep kids safe during Halloween.  Some of the suggestions are pretty ingenious.

 

The first thing to do is to turn the quest for candy into a philanthropic activity.  Send tp UNICEF for their famous orange box and send the kids out to collect for those kids around the world who need their help. Or, with the unusual natural disasters we have faced this past month, ask the kids to collect for Red Cross. Do a little research with them beforehand so they can see how the money they collect will be used.

 

Next – if the lure of candy wins out, look for homes that have a Teal Pumpkin on display. This has become a universal signal that the family is handing out treats that are allergy sensitive.

 

Another great idea is to have your children be the ones handing out the candy at home –and perhaps hosting a holiday party before or after the trick-or-treating where you can control the menu. Thirdly, one clever parent has a friend dressed as a “switch witch” show up to swap out safe candy for the loot the kids have collected.

 

At home, you can use fun decorations on fruits and veggies to make them more enticing and also research the candy that is safe – like Dum Dum lollipops, Twizzlers, Smarties and other types of candies that don’t have the ingredients that cause most allergic reactions.

 

When all else fails, you can encourage alternative “treats” that are not edible – and not dangerous – such as stickers, slinkies, bracelets, spider rings, or novelty pencils and pens.  These are fun to hand out and perhaps can be exchanged later for candy from your children’s goodie bags when they return from their trick or treating.

 

Parents can also talk to their neighbors, explain their situation, and encourage everyone to think more creatively.   And parents can talk to their children. One mom has her son trick or treating with this message: “Hi! Trick or Treat. No Nuts – I’m allergic.”  The children need to learn to be aware of their own challenges at an early age, especially when the consequences are so potentially dangerous.  Halloween is as good a time as any to start learning how to do that!

 

Some of the nonprofit organizations that focus on kids and food allergies are:

Kidswithfoodallergies.org

Foodallergy.org

Kidshealth.org