For kids with food allergies, Halloween can be rough. Food-centered activities can dampen the fun and also put kids in danger. It’s a challenge that won’t go away—in fact, it’s getting bigger. One in 13 kids now suffers from food allergies. That’s equivalent to two kids per classroom.
To help allergic kids this Halloween—whether your own or others’—consider taking part in the Teal Pumpkin Project sponsored by Food Allergy Research and Education. The project was the brainchild of a mom in Tennessee looking for a way to make Halloween enjoyable for food-allergic kids. Today, people from 50 states and 14 different countries participate.
Your involvement is simple:
- Provide a non-food “treat” for trick or treaters such as a small toy or school supply.
- Display a teal pumpkin outside of your home with a free printable sign from FARE.
The FARE website also has printable fliers you can take to neighbors and businesses to spread the word about the Teal Pumpkin Project. You can be the catalyst that gets your community involved!
Here are a few other ways to ensure a safe and happy Halloween for your food-allergic child:
- Provide candy substitutes for trick or treating and class parties. That way, if your child can’t have the provided foods, you can offer them an “even exchange” for a treat or toy that won’t stir up their allergies.
- Check your child’s candy. Lay down a hard and fast rule that nothing can be eaten unless it has been inspected.
- Go to your child’s school party. If your child isn’t yet ready to monitor ingredients on their own, make sure you are there to see the food offerings and help your child choose wisely.
- Provide a trick-or-treating alternative. Consider throwing a party in lieu of trick or treating. Your child can enjoy the camaraderie of friends without having to deal with the health risks of certain types of allergy-causing candy.
If your child’s enjoyment of life is overshadowed allergies, consider environmental or food allergy treatment through allergy immunotherapy drops for kids. Like allergy shots, the drops can help kids develop immunity to allergens that once triggered symptoms. AllergyEasy can help you learn more about the cost of the allergy drops as well as find a physician to prescribe the treatment (known as sublingual immunotherapy).