When my daughter was three I was angry about Halloween because it seemed to be a risk for her and most holidays were just designed to be dangerous. Every holiday revolves around food. We sat on our porch and she handed out candy with our neighbors. She was dressed up and had a blast but I was getting really sad about it all. She was missing out. Sure, some may say it’s a stupid holiday and many people are flat out against it but I always loved Halloween.
At one point she realized we weren’t going to each house to get candy. I realized that it was my fear that was preventing this and I had to think of alternatives. I wasn’t going to allow her allergies to hold her back and in that moment I realized how much I wanted her to have a life like any other kid.
Tips On Having a Safe and Fun Halloween with Food Allergies
- Always have your required medicine. My kids carry an “Emergency Bag” on them at all times. No exceptions. My daughter keeps her epipen, benadryl, inhaler, tissue, emergency cards, wipes and a small first aid kit in her bag. Yes, between the candy sacks, halloween costumes and other stuff your kid seems to haul around it may be tempting to leave medicine at home since you will be in the neighborhood. I always play safe.
- Eat a big huge meal before you go Trick or Treating. It will be tempting to eat candy on the go on an empty stomach. Lessen the temptation.
- If you are stressing how to manage your child’s food allergies at a Halloween party then check out this post I did about Birthday parties. Same rules apply. It’s also great for those of you that are hosting a party and have someone coming who has food allergies. I even quoted Pulp Fiction in this one.
- Get your kids in the habit of always asking before they eat something.
- Have your kids wear gloves with their costumes. My daughter is contact sensitive to milk… if she touches it she will break out. Some houses want the kids to pick out their candy. To minimize the amount of exposure I’ve always asked them to wear gloves. Just. In. Case. We had one instance where she picked up a candy bar and it was open. Milk chocolate was exposed… if it had touched her bare skin she would have broken out. I switched her gloves and wiped them down. Sure I look like the crazy germaphobe Mom but I’m keeping my kid safe.
- Homemade treats should be politely declined. I think it’s sweet that some people bake fresh cookies and brownies and sometimes give them straight from a plate. The cop’s daughter in me says “Oh hell no, those could be poisoned” and the allergy Mom in me freaks out. This has happened a few times and I’ve taught my kids to just politely say they can’t have those but it was very sweet for them to offer.
- Keep it fun. Yes, your child may be gathering dozens of pieces of candy that they can’t have. Let them. It’s about being outside, showing off their costumes and having fun. Have a system where they trade in that candy for something else. Last year I wrote about the Halloween Fairy which is a fun way for kids to trade in their candy. I encourage you to welcome the Halloween Fairy into your home even if your child doesn’t have food allergies… it’s a way to swap out those treats and replace them with a better alternative.
My daughter is ten now and we haven’t missed a trick or treating moment. We haven’t allowed her food allergies to hold us back. We haven’t had any negativity from it… just lots of fun and great memories.Bonus points if you can guess our theme
If you have other tips or advice I would love to hear them. I hope you and your kiddos can go out there and make the most of it!
About Leila DontSpeakWhinese
Leila, aka The Ninja, is the advocate for all things not whining. Parenting is fun when everyone stops b*tching! She is a single Mom with two amazing kids. They ninja kick through life together. Oh and she is a total jackass.