Trick or Treating with Allergies: What to Tell Your Kids
Being a teen I've had my fair share of Halloween's and will continue to as I can't find a way to not be obsessed with a holiday that revolves completely around candy (my sweet tooth!!). However, with everything that involves food, there is always the concern of my allergies. When I was younger, it was easier for my parents to regulate what I ate and touched on Halloween, as they followed me everywhere I went. Yet, as I grew older and began to trick or treat with friends, there were certain things that I needed to know before I went out to trick or treat without supervision.
It is common for children in peer settings to play off the idea that there allergies are "not that bad", and partake in the consumption of different things to fit in. This happens predominantly in the tween to teen age category. Halloween is another group setting to reestablish these boundaries again to ensure that an accident does not happen, leading me to my first point.
1. Do not eat anything that you did not bring from home! This includes Candy Bars. Chocolates, etc. that you picked up along the way of your Trick or Treating.
While many may feel that this is extreme, I already can't have the majority of Halloween candy that is being passed out; therefore, if it's being thrown all into the same bag, I don't feel comfortable eating it. Instead I opt for a different alternative to candy eating if I feel I have to eat.
2. You can Bring your own candy!!! It is completely ok.
Bringing your own food if possible always makes me feel the safest and happiest. For years I've stocked up on my own candy that I liked and eaten it when I got home from trick or treating with friends. If you would like to snack on treats as you walk you can always carry whatever candy of your preference in your pocket. The best part is you can buy in bulk your favorite candy and are not limited to whatever is thrown at you at the door! You don't have to be snacking on sweet treats as you walk to "feel comfortable" as the action of getting together with friends should be what makes the evening truly enjoyable.
Some Suggestion on Safe Candy: Just to name a few.. *Always read labels and check ingredients specific to you allergic needs*
- Hershey Kisses/Bars
- Vermont Nut Free
- Enjoy Life
- Dum Dum Lollipops
- Jolly Ranchers
- Haribo Gummy Bears
3. Carry your Epi-pen/Auvi-Q at all times. Do not take it off.
Yes, Trick of Treating requires the heavy load of carrying not only a massive bag of candy, but also whatever accessories or props that go along with your costume. This is not an excuse to not carry an Epi-pen/Auvi-Q. I have always incorporated my Epi-pen/Auvi-Q into my costume over the years. For example I may carry my medicine in a fanny pack, or I'll carry a cross body bag with all of my medicine inside of it. It is important that you never take off your bag or fanny pack as an Epi-Pen/Auvi-Q is something that is very small and easy to lose. If you are hitting multiple houses, you most likely will not find it again if you lose it.
4. It's Not About the Candy.
This is a lesson that comes with time, and is often hard for younger children to grasp. As someone who has Food Allergies, it is important to recognize that in the majority of situations it is not about the food, not just on Halloween. If you and your child are centralizing around the food aspect of Holidays, it seems to eliminate the fun factor of coming together and having a good time. If you learn to forget about the importance of Candy, I can guarantee from personal experience that it will be 10x more fun!
5. Follow the Teal Pumpkins!
Once again, FARE is running the Teal Pumpkin Project. It focuses on providing non-food trinkets and toys to trick or treaters to make Halloween inclusive for all. Every house with a Teal Pumpkin in front of their door and a FARE Teal Pumpkin Project Poster should be food free! For more information about the Teal Pumpkin Project you can click on the link below:
Toys to Give Out on Halloween:
- Halloween Pencil Toppers
- Toy Slinkies
- Playing Cards
- Bouncy Balls
These are my basic guidelines to trick or treating with my friends!I understand that situations can vary for everyone, so if you want a more in depth answeror or have more specific questions don't be afraid to contact me at : firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a Happy Halloween!!!