When your child lives with a food allergy, Halloween can be scary (and not in a good, spooky way). Halloween can already be a difficult holiday for children who have disabilities, and food allergies can create an especially scary situation for parents of kids with special needs.
We've compiled a guide of allergy-friendly candies and sweets that you can pass out this Halloween with good conscious!
Allergens to Avoid
There are eight main food allergens that you should try to avoid in order to host an inclusive Halloween:
- Tree Nuts
Candies Without ANY of the Top 8 Allergens
It can be difficult to think of sweets that don't contain ANY of the above allergens off the top of your head, but there are actually plenty of mainstream candies that are completely allergen-friendly!
- Dum Dums
- Dubble Bubble (does have a warning “soy may be present” so call & check if you have soy allergies)
- Blow Pop
- Ring Pop
- Sour Patch Kids
- Swedish Fish
- Jolly Ranchers (Note: They have soy lecithin. Check with your allergist, but many who have a soybean allergy can eat soy lecithin)
Trading Sweets for Treats
While passing out allergen-friendly candies on Halloween is a great way to be more inclusive to children who have food restrictions, it's even better if you offer non-edible options as well.
Food allergies can be incredibly particular, and some parents may not want to risk their child consuming candy that may trigger an allergic reaction, even if the candy doens't contain any of the eight major allergens. There are also other medical conditions to be aware of, such as diabetes.
In addition, some children with special needs, such as autism, may not enjoy the texture, smell, or taste of certain candies. Providing children with the option to take a candy or a non-edible toy or knick-knack during Trick-or-Treating is the most inclusive option!
Here are some non-food trick or treat options that can be picked up at the dollar or party store:
- Glow sticks
- Temporary tattoos
- Bouncy balls
- Slap bracelets
- Rubber ducks
- Plastic rings
- Plastic rings
- Silly glasses
The Teal Pumpkin Project
The Blue/Teal Pumpkin Project was developed in 2014 so that children with special dietary needs can be more easily recognized and cared for.
A child carrying a blue or teal pumpkin while Trick-or-Treating will indicate to others that the child has a food sensitivity or special need, such as Austim.
In a similar fashion, placing a blue or teal pumpkin outside of your house will indicate to others that you have non-food items available for Trick-or-Treaters. Not everyone is aware of the meanings of the colored pumpkins, so make sure to spread the word and educate others whenever possible!
An Inclusive Halloween
By creating a more inclusive Halloween that all children can enjoy, you're helping to create positive, incredible memories for countless children and their families. Thank you for doing your part to create a fun, safe, and memorable holiday for all!