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Halloween Tricks for Food Allergic Kids (and 10 Allergen-Free Candy Treats)

3 Halloween photo credit Flickr Kpishdadi

For our food allergic kiddos, it’s not the ghouls and goblins that are the scariest part of the trick-or-treating– the candy is. If you’ve got a child with food allergies, here are some useful tips and safe strategies so your little ones can enjoy all the frightfully fun festivities alongside the rest of the gang.

Tips for Parents With Food Allergic Kids: 

• Ask friends and neighbors that a separate bowl of allergen-free candy be made available. (Mom & Dad can also opt to distribute their own treats to neighbors before the trick-or-treating begins.)

• The concept of a decoy candy bag: all you have to do is purchase two identical bags and fill one with a wide range of allergy-safe candies so at the end of the evening, simply swap out the bag so your child has the adventure of going door to door without risking a reaction.

• Older children can opt to trick-or-treat for charity, through organizations like UNICEF.

• For friends and neighbors who are empathetic and aware to your child’s situation, and if you’re ambitious enough (maybe the Martha Stewart gene didn’t skip you!) consider hosting a neighborhood block party with a nice, big, safe zone for allergy sufferers.

• Ever heard of the Halloween Fairy? Nope? Well here you go: the “Halloween Fairy” comes to your home – always while the kids are brushing their teeth before bed – and takes all of the leftover allergen-unsafe candy left outside for her in a basket. In exchange, she leaves kiddos a gift – or two. So now you know!

Planning Ahead
While you’re buying costumes and decorating the house – good and early – make sure your little one’s medications (antihistamine & epinephrine auto-injector or “Epi Pen”) are up-to-date before leaving the house, as auto-injectors typically expire within one year. And be sure you’re carrying it close by and in a safe place while you’re out & about on Halloween eve.

Check Those Candy Labels
Checking labels becomes very pivotal because during the holidays, including Halloween, when the manufacturers make those mini small-sized candies and they’re often mass-produced on shared equipment. So candy that’s safe other times of the year might not be safe during Halloween. When in doubt, if it’s not entirely clear on the label, call the customer service phone number written on the product or go to the website online for further clarification. This will help to make it a spooktacular night!

10 Allergen-Free Candy Picks
Allergy free certainly doesn’t mean fun free! Here are 2013 lists of candies we’ve found to be free of the most common trouble-makers, like peanuts and tree nuts, gluten and dairy. Feel free to use these lists as general guidelines to help navigate your way down the grocery aisle. Remember: to check ingredient lists each & every time as recipes and manufacturing practices change from time to time. Drumroll, please! Here are our allergy safe top ten Halloween candies in alphabetical order:

1. Airheads 

2. Divvies 

3. Dum Dums 

4. Fun Dip 

5. Life Savers (hard candies & gummies) 

6. Nerds 

7. Smarties 

8. Surf Sweets 

9. Vermont Nut Free Chocolates 

10. Starburst 

Do you have a food allergic child at home? Tell us what you do to make sure your kids get the most out of Halloween. 

– Mireille Schwartz

photo courtesy of Kpishdadi via Flickr

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