Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Trick or Treat!

I blog specifically about food allergies too often (although it really is layered into most of my posts) but I feel inclined to do so for a few minutes with Halloween right around the corner!

For most, Halloween is a really fun holiday that all kids look forward to.  For kids with food allergies and their parents, there is a nerve wrecking side to it - the candy that the kids receive door to door can lead to severe or even fatal allergic reactions in kids who are allergic to peanuts or some of the other major food allergens.  In my case, we do not know the full extent of my son's peanut allergy, as he has yet to eat anything with peanuts or tree nuts in it.  We know we can have it in the house (we still eat peanut butter on occasion) and for many children, even being around peanut products can cause a reaction.

Regardless of the extent of my son's allergy, I have a heightened understanding of what this can mean for parents around the holidays, especially Halloween.  As my little guy gets older, we will have a lot of explaining to do to help him understand what he can and cannot eat.

Our chiropractor and I had a discussion about this today.  Her daughter has a severe peanut allergy and she does not allow her children to eat much sugar in general.  She allows her two kids to go out trick or treating for a few blocks and when they arrive home, they swap out 6 or 7 treats for "surprise" treats from mom and dad (healthier, allergy friendly alternatives) and the rest of the candy gets handed out to kids in the neighborhood.  This is the tradition so they do not mind it at all (these two kiddos are under 10 - as they get older, I am sure the approach will have to change!) 

If you have a child with food allergies or are looking to be extra aware of those that do, here are some great treat options to hand out this Halloween!

  • Angie's Kettle Corn has big packs of snack-size bags of kettle corn (allergy-free) that you can find at Target or Super Target
  • I found Halloween snack packs of Annie's Homegrown Fruit Snacks at Whole Foods (along with some other great candy options).
  • A lot of the major chocolate brands have peanut free facilities where they are producing candy.  The labels for this are front and center on the packaging.  Dove is an example!
  • Check out Lollipops, Starbursts etc.  Here is a great list of Allergy-Free Halloween Candies.
  • Hand out glow sticks (Michaels), pencils, play dough (you can get mini-containers of Play dough that is Halloween themed at Costco) instead of candy!
I know I can speak for "Allergy kids" and their parents when I say how much we all appreciate anything you can do to help make Halloween a little easier for our kiddos! :)

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