Tips for Including Kids with Food Allergies
I first came close to food allergies in kids when my little daughter was born. She was 4 months old when, for the very first time, she “touched”, literally touched a yogurt. She smacked her hand in a bowl full of yogurt and just like all babies do, smeared it all over her face and neck in a matter of few seconds.
That’s when I noticed something red on her face. When I wiped the yogurt off, I was horrified!
She had broken into hives all over her face, neck and hands. Basically wherever the yogurt touched her. I was thanking heaven for the pacifier in her mouth which prevented her from eating the yogurt that was on her face!
We later found out about babies being sensitive/allergic to the protein in milk and got on a plan with her doctor about how to treat it.
A lot of kids grow out of milk allergy by the time they hit the 1 year mark and I am so glad she was one of those.
But I am well aware that a lot of kids don’t!
And I have experienced first hand how scary food allergies can be!
That year I resolved to make Halloween and all parties at my house allergy friendly so kids and their parents can enjoy it without fearing for the life of their little ones.
If you too, are looking for ways to make Halloween more inclusive this year, because kids totally deserve it, here’s what you can do:
Set out a teal pumpkin outside your house
Heard about the Teal Pumpkin Project?
It's a simple way to make trick-or-treating and Halloween more safe and fun for kids with food allergies. A Teal pumpkin outside your house is a signal that you are handing out allergy safe candies or non-food treats for the kids.
You can include your regular Halloween candy too, if you wish to hand those out to kids without any allergies.
You can also announce on your neighborhood apps that you will be handing out allergy safe options that way parents can plan to visit your house and the little ones can, for once indulge without worrying.
Hand Out non-food treats
You would be surprised to know how much kids love Halloween themed pencils and notepads that we handout on Halloween! Over the years we have tried a lot of non-food things and you can always order those, inexpensive non-food treats in bulk from Amazon or Costco and watch the kid’s face light up when they see a “Halloween Keepsake”.
One of our neighbors handed out miniature cars last Halloween, nothing too fancy but my kids still have those and play with them every once in a while!
They get enough candy everywhere else. So whenever they get some trinket they can keep, they cherish it forever!
Hand out allergy friendly treats
Would you rather just have one bowl of Halloween candy that kids with or without food allergies can enjoy?
Well, I got you covered!
Here’s a list of traditional Halloween Candies that are allergy friendly:
Dum Dum Lollipops
Life Saver Gummies
Hand out non-sugar treats
Now I know sugar is not an allergen, but my oh my is it the culprit in all the sugar rushed kids and overtired parents?
Also during a night of over-sugared treats, a buttery popcorn is such a welcome break!
I personally get so excited when someone is handing out popcorn, such a relief to the teeth and mouth!
Here are my favorite non-sugar treats that kids love:
Assortment of Chips
Make Halloween Safe and Fun for Kids, Be understanding and supportive
The last thing a kid with food allergy wants is to be reminded of the candy they cannot eat!
Instead of dwelling into questions about what allergies they have and what they can or can not eat, just show the options you have and let the parents help kids choose the right candy for them.
Be supportive of the little warriors and just spread the Halloween Joy. Crack a joke or just simply wish them Happy Halloween!
You have just made the night for a little one!
Talk to neighbors and spread awareness
Once you have on-boarded the Teal Pumpkin train, educate your neighbors and your social media followers about the Teal Pumpkin and its advantages.
More often than not, people want to do the right thing. Your neighbors will be more than happy to hand out allergy friendly candy if you explain then what it is for.
Be an evangelist. Our kids need all the cheerleaders they can get!
Involve your school
This small action can have a big impact! If you can, get involved with your school. Just a simple message to kids to look for Teal Pumpkin can bring so much joy and keep so many kids safe.
You don’t even have to go and deliver the message yourself. The teachers or the principal will be happy to spread some awareness.
We always teach our kids to be inclusive and kind, it's our turn now to show what inclusion really looks like.
Thank you so much for looking for ways to make Halloween more inclusive.
From one mother to another, Thank You!