I just got a press-release from Enjoy Life Foods, so I thought I'd pass it along. It has great tips for both allergic and non-allergic families on how to deal with candy and food allergies at Halloween.
AllergyMoms.com is another great resource that is quoted below. I have a link to both AllergyMoms.com and Enjoy Life Foods on my links list to the right. Here's the press release:
"Enjoy Life Foods® Teams with AllergyMoms.com to Ensure Halloween Isn't ‘Tricky’ for Food-Allergic Kids and Families
Provides tips for being allergy-aware this Halloween
Enjoy Life Foods, the country’s leader in allergy-friendly and gluten-free foods, teamed up with Gina Clowes of AllergyMoms.com to help ensure that kids with food allergies aren't scared to trick or treat this Halloween just because they can't eat the same snacks as others, and to ensure that no one is frightened if a food-allergic ghost or goblin comes knocking on their door.
These helpful tips for being allergy-aware this Halloween can make trick or treating safe and fun for EVERYONE:
Be proactive. If you know of children in the neighborhood with food allergies, ask their parents what types of candies are safe. They'll be thrilled to know you care.
Keep a stash of “safe candy” or fun trinkets. Have fun trinkets on hand such as bubbles, Silly Putty, tattoos, stickers, spider rings and bracelets. Kids with food allergies or intolerance will be grateful to receive something they can actually enjoy.
Be discreet. If you know a child has food allergies, don't ask “Oh, you’re the one with the peanut allergy, right?” Kids want to fit in and don't like to be singled out.
Everyone loves ingredient labels. Give out candy with clear ingredient labels so parents and children can decide which candies are safe.
Don't drop candy into kids’ bags. Allow each child to select his or her candy. More often than not, they'll know which candies are safe and which aren't.
Listen to the children. If a child says “No thank you,” it may be because they don't see a safe option in what’s being offered. Don't make a fuss by insisting they take candy that may not be safe for them.
Parents know best. Don't assume that peanut allergy is the only allergy. There are many types of food allergies and food intolerances, so it’s important to let parents decide what candy is safe for their child.
Think of your guests. If you’re entertaining for Halloween, don't leave candy dishes unattended and be mindful of children “stashing” candy. Young children with food allergies may be easily tempted by “unsafe” candy."
I have a few of tips of my own: Allergic kids should carry two bags (parents can help if your child is very young)--one for the "safe" candy (to be thoroughly checked over at home) and one for the unsafe candy. In our family that would be anything from Reese's, Snickers, etc. I came up with this after a "peanut butter cup" explosion in a treats bag that ended up contaminating a lot of the "safe" stuff.
Also, make sure you're not tracking nuts into the house via candy that drops on the ground. Again, those pesky peanut butter cups usually wind up smashed all over our front stoop. Have everybody shed their shoes directly after Trick or Treating.
Finally, consider hosting a Halloween Open House for your kids. Allergic kids sometimes feel very left out when they have to dump 90% of their treat bags, so it's nice to give them something else to focus on. We're planning a simple "stop by when you're done Trick or Treating" gathering for a few kids/parents on the block.
If anyone else has some tips you'd like to share, let's hear 'em!