Halloween is a holiday that children and adults plan for all year round. What costume will I wear? How will I decorate my house? The yard? School parties? House parties? Slumber parties? Scary movies? Halloween is a fun and scary holiday, but frightening for a different reason if you are a parent of a child with food allergies. Think of all the allergens that are present in the treats that children receive going door to door. Not to mention, school parties are a danger zone of allergen land mines. From nuts to milk, allergens are present on every treat table at every school party. I have a challenge for every person in school and in the community. Please offer and have available allergy free snacks separate from the other snacks.
At school parties, make it a nut free zone. All nuts including tree nuts should not be allowed in the building. This will protect all students from an accidental allergy attack or not being able to have a treat due to cross contamination. Parties should be fun for all. I have heard the statement that “she is used to bringing her own snack”. Children should be able to come to a party like all other children and feel safe. They should not have to bring their own snack. They can bring a snack to share but not provide their own treat because adults do not want to take the time to provide a snack that is safe for them. Also think about the drinks we serve at the parties. Some children are allergic to red dye and can not drink fruit punch. Serve an alternative as well. This will give all children a choice for drinks. If you are frosting cookies as an activity, make sure the frosting is gluten free. Then all children can participate in the activity.
Trick-or-treating is a fun activity for all children and some adults. Make your house the place that all children can go to safely. Make it a nut free zone. Some safe alternatives to candy are pencils, plastic rings such as pumpkins or spiders, or stickers. These are safe for all children plus the local dentists will love you. At your local party store, you can find bags of toys that are relatively inexpensive for a variety of ages. You may not be able to give out treats for hours but your treats will be safe.
Safety is the key to making Halloween a happy holiday for all children. The goal is to make it fun for everyone. It is hard to always have to tell your children no but when you can say yes it is nice. Pencils last longer than the minute that it takes to eat the candy bar. Have a safe and happy Halloween.