Halloween is almost here! There’s a lot to celebrate about this time of year – cooling temps, changing colors of leaves, jack o’lanterns, ghosts, goblins and witches, and many kids’ and parents’ favorite part: Halloween parties, getting dressed up, and going trick-or-treating!
Of course, Halloween isn’t a completely laidback time for all kids or their parents. Many children and their parents have additional factors to navigate and negotiate on a daily basis even just in their regular life and days, and a holiday that centers around things like talking to strangers, putting on costumes, and receiving unvetted candy can be a big deal for many families. Halloween can be a lot of fun to celebrate, but it can come with challenges too, and a little helping hand from others to make it fun for everyone can go a long way. Everyone could use a hand in life sometimes, after all!
There are simple things you can do that can help make Halloween a little easier and more fun for everyone in your family or that of your neighbors’.
One big thing you can do to help make Halloween something everyone can be a part of is to be aware and mindful of food allergies. Many children have allergies to a number of different ingredients commonly found in candy bars and other Halloween treats – people can have sensitivities to just about anything, from peanuts to gluten to soy, and more.
Consider how many candy bars (maybe some of your own favorites) have one or all of those in their ingredients, and you can sympathize with how much is off-limits to these youngsters with allergies. Allergic reactions can range from things like hives on the skin to severe bowel discomfort, even an immediate and life-threatening anaphylactic reaction where the child can’t breathe. It can still be fun for the child to get to go out and do the dressing up and going door to door even if they can’t eat the candy, but everyone loves to have a good bounty of treats and treasures that you can actually enjoy at the end of the night and for the next few days.
If you want to be a thoughtful fellow parent or neighbor for children (and their parents!) who have allergies, so they too can enjoy a night out plus have goodies they can actually eat, you can have a special bowl for kids with the most common allergies. There are 8 things considered to be the top allergens – in candy, those are likely to include Milk, Eggs, Tree nuts (such as Almonds, Walnuts, Pecans, etc.), Peanuts, Wheat and Soybeans. (Fish and Crustacean Shellfish are the other leading allergens, but thankfully there probably aren’t too many candy bars that are likely to include those in their ingredients.) Candies like Dots, Ring Pops, Skittles, Swedish Fish, Starburst, Sour Patch Kids, etc. are good top allergen-free options that kids often enjoy.
If you’re a parent of a child with allergies, you can also check out our article on Tips for Making Halloween Safer for Children with Food Allergies.
Being thoughtful of children with allergies is just one of the ways your family can help Halloween be a fun time that all kids can be a part of in your neighborhood. We’ll cover a few more ways next time in Part 2!