May and I recently had the pleasure of having lunch with Missy "The Marketing Mama." We asked Missy to write up a guest post for us on how to navigate Halloween when you have a child with food allergies. Read on as Missy tells us how to make the upcoming holiday a little less scary:
Halloween can be a tricky topic when it comes to food allergies. Our daughter Avery (21 months) was diagnosed last January with life-threatening food allergies to milk, eggs, peanuts and soy. We still aren’t sure if we’ll be taking her trick-or-treating this year. I’ve heard of parents giving neighbors safe candy in advance to give out to children with food allergies. Some parents allow old fashioned trick-or-treating, but opt to trade unsafe candy for safe candy after the child returns home.
- Decorate your house – make the celebration last more than just one day. I gave our children paper Jack-o-lanterns to hang around the house. They had a blast doing it themselves, even though they are all at eye level now!
- Bake your own festive foods. For the Halloween party at daycare, I’ll be providing safe Jack-O-Lantern cupcakes. All the children can enjoy them and Avery won’t be left out of the fun. Our daycare provider and I agreed this was a good plan in place of candy treats that day.
- Attend a food-free Halloween event. The Food Allergy Support Group of Minnesota plans a food-free costume bowling event each year. We attended last weekend and had a great time. I also hear there will be an Allergy-free Zone at the Mall of America’s Halloween Party, 5 – 8 p.m. Halloween night. Check here for more info.
- Hold out your treat bowl and allow children to choose one or two pieces. Those with food allergies can typically recognize candy that is safe for them.
- Provide non-food treats in addition to candy. Throw some spider rings or themed pencils in your treat bowl. These are always great options for kids with food allergies.
- Include “allergy free” candy in your mix. Easy-to-find brands that are safe for most food allergies include Smarties, Dots, and Dum Dum suckers. They are all free from milk, eggs and soy, in addition to peanuts and tree nuts.