Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Good Witch and Other Allergy-Free Halloween Fun

One of the hardest things about Halloween with food allergies is that the kids who Trick or Treat come home with bags full of candy that they can't eat. Still, for a lot of kids (and parents) Trick or Treating is a big part of Halloween that they don't want to eliminate.

So what do you do to help the kids cope with treats they can't touch?

I just got the most recent FAAN newsletter and a mom had a great suggestion. She said that she has her kids place the unsafe Trick or Treat candy outside their bedroom door on Halloween night. Then, the next morning, "The Good Witch" takes the bags but leaves them a special treat, like a toy or safe candy instead.

I love this idea. It reminds me a little bit of what I do with my daughter who ends up having to give away about 3/4 of her treats bag each year.

We started a Halloween "Treasure Hunt" the first Halloween after we discovered her nut allergies. While Dad took her trick or treating, I placed "clues" around the house leading to special Halloween treats bag filled with safe candies, plus non-edible items like small toys and a Halloween book. This was such a big hit she didn't mind giving up her candies at all. In fact, at age 9 she still looks forward to it!

The only caution I have is for those of you with non-allergic kids--you will have to do something similar with them or they will feel left out. They don't need as much as the allergic kids since they're not giving up their candy, but making it a family activity definitely cuts down on the sibling rivalry and makes it a lot more fun.

What are some of your "tricks" to compensate for the unsafe treats? I'll have more of my own time-tested suggestions soon, but reader ideas are welcome!

1 comment:

Sarah said...

We trade with our daughter. We started the tradition before we knew of her food allergies. I just didn't want her having all that candy. Halloween is so immediate for the gratification...she loves the process of trick or treating; for her it's the means to the end. She gets to trade her bag of goodies for a goodie she is more surprised about. We started at age 4 with a Halloween Barbie. Last year at age 7; it was American Girl Halloween themed Costumes. The candy goes to someone who uses it for rewards; whether that be the local rec center or senior center. So more than our daughter is happy.