Alex and Avery were twin puppies – Halloween 2010.

Holidays can be especially tricky for families with food allergies. We want our children to experience the same traditions as other children, but so many traditions are based on food. Of course there is much ado about candy on Halloween! This post isn’t geared towards families with food allergies, but to my readers who are interested to learn one or two easy things they can do to make Halloween a little safer for kiddos with food allergies.

Here are three tips to make your house a food allergy-friendly stop-on-the-block:

1. Hold the chocolate. Add some non-chocolate, non-peanut treats to your bowl. Nearly all chocolate treats on the market are made on equipment shared with peanuts (and are unsafe for those with milk allergy). Take a look at the non-chocolate options – such as Dum Dum suckers, Laffy Taffy and (my favorite) Smarties. Angie’s Kettle Corn has a new Halloween Snack Pack at Target this year. All of these treats are milk, egg, peanut and tree nut free and made on safe equipment (from what I can tell from the labels).

Add some non-chocolate options into your treat bowl on Halloween.

2. Mix it up! Add some non-food treats in with your candy, such as Halloween-themed pencils, notepads, stickers, goofy eyeball erasers or spider rings. These pencils and notepads are still around a year later and getting used by my kiddos. I love these options and wish more houses had them!

Try adding some non-food options into your treat bowl this year!

3. Let the child choose. Most of us don’t think twice about selecting a treat or two for kids at the door. But kids with food allergies really appreciate it when you hold the bowl out for them to choose. They (or their parents) can quickly spot treats that are safe for them. That small gesture can really go a long way for families with food allergies navigating this tricky holiday.

These three tips are pretty easy to work into your Halloween tradition if you want to help make Halloween safer for little ones with food allergies. The last I heard nearly 1 in 13 little ones have food allergies these days – I can pretty much guarantee some of them will be stopping at your house!

What other tips do you have for making Halloween safe for children with food allergies? If you have a child with food allergies, please share what helps your child at Halloween.

To read more about our family’s experiences with food allergies, click here to go to my Food Allergy page. You can also stay in touch with me on Facebook!

Disclosure – I received a free sample of the Angie’s Kettle Corn Halloween Snack Pack. I’m so glad they reached out to me, as we hadn’t tried that snack before and I had no idea it was made with safe ingredients on safe equipment (for us). Love that they have mini-packs for Halloween!  I purchased all the other candies listed here, photographed them and will be giving them out on Halloween.

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26 Responses to “Halloween :: three easy tips to make your house a food allergy-friendly stop”

  1. Kristin says:

    It never occured to me to let the child pick from the bowl of goodies, but that makes a lot of sense coming from an allergy standpoint. I’ll also take a closer look at what we’re handing out this year and see if it can’t become more allergy friendly. Thanks for the ideas 🙂

    • Missy says:

      Thanks Kristin – glad to hear that gave you an idea. 🙂 It’s such an easy thing to do – but most of us have never thought of it before!

  2. Robin says:

    Great tips, Missy. One question I always have in my mind is whether the safer treats need to be in a separate bowl from the other treats. I know some little ones are ultra sensitive and wonder if just having the packaging together would be problematic. Have you seen anything on this?

    • Missy says:

      Hi Robin, thanks for the note. I can only answer from my point of view, not for every parent, but I am okay with them being in the same bowl. At that point both of the foods (safe and unsafe) are wrapped, so you have wrappers touching wrappers, not food touching food.

      If a wrapper was ripped or torn in any way, I would pull that out from my child’s candy and consider it unsafe. Hope that helps!

  3. Sarah says:

    My son’s worst allergies are peanut, soy, & milk. Our cousins also have food dye allergies. So we buy our own treats that the kids’ can trade their trick or treated candy in for. We also go over the candies/treats that we CAN pick. Just like any kid it’s good to have a safety run-down before going to events (don’t get in cars w strangers, be polite bu if someone creeps you out it’s ok to avoid them, don’t take candy, ask I you’re unsure idiot can have something) plus the norm allergy ones (it’s ok to refuse something that’ll make you sick, don’t kiss/hug someone whose eating something that’ll make you itch, etc). We’ve ha lots of fun & even my 1.5/2yo can identify lollipops & treats he can have.

    • Missy says:

      Thanks for sharing what you do in your family Sarah! Those are all great tips! I have extra special ‘safe’ treats at home, too, and trade out unsafe ones for safe ones for my little one that has food allergies.

  4. Gina says:

    Excellent post I’ll be buying the allergy friendly treats this year! Thanks for making me think about it!

  5. Sara says:

    Safe for celiac kids: skittles, dum-dum lollipops, jelly belly jelly beans, mike and ikes, hot tamales. We’re trick-or-treating for the troops this year – that way my kids won’t feel guilty accepting treats they know they can’t have. We’ll load up while trick-or-treating, and then come home to lots of safe treats I’ll have for them. The next day, we’ll drop off the other treats at our local plant nursery, which is sending candy to overseas troops.

    • Missy says:

      Thanks for sharing more safe treats Sara – since we don’t have gluten or wheat allergies/sensitivities, I haven’t covered that topic – but most of the ones you mentioned here are safe for peanut/egg/milk allergies as well. (the only concern I have is Jelly beans – depending on the brand, many are made on same equipment as peanuts/nuts).

      LOVE the idea of trick-or-treating for the troops. 🙂

    • @braveorchid says:

      Yes, good tips. And remember that licorice is not a valid option for celiac/wheat allergic folks–its first ingredient is wheat.

  6. gina says:

    Hey! This is fantastic! Can I link to it this week for my Food Allergy Friday post?

  7. Tim Smith says:

    Particularly enlightening thanks, There’s no doubt that your trusty followers would likely want a good deal more blog posts along these lines keep up the excellent work.

  8. Lynae says:

    Thank you so much! My son’s 1st grade classmate has a severe peanut allergy and although I read labels thoroughly, I’m always concerned I’ve missed something. This gives me options I wouldn’t have thought of for treats for snack and for my son to hand out to his classmates for holidays.

  9. Hi Missy! Great suggestions. Robin, I think it’s a great idea to have allergy-friendly treats in a separate bowl. That way, there is no confusion on what is safe and what is not.

    I just wrote a post on how we keep our son safe and other recommendations on how to keep your food allergy kids safe this Trick-or-Treat, including a strong suggestion to readers to hand out allergy-friendly treats. It can make such a difference for a fun and safe night.

    Here is the link for anyone interested. http://willingcook.com/trick-or-treating-with-food-allergies/


  10. Colleen says:

    Yet another reason that the Lindstroms always give non food treats. Last year we gave silly bandz, this year it’s pencils, erasers, and note-pads. Other parents make fun of me, but I don’t care. I happen to be of the opinion that we get too much candy on Halloween, and I’d like to serve an alternative. The fact that the non-food treats are allergy friendly is the cherry on the sundae! Thanks for drawing attention to this, Missy! It’s good for people to be a little more thoughtful about what they are giving out!

    • Missy says:

      I’m shocked other parents make fun of you Colleen – especially because there’s more than enough candy to go around. As if obesity isn’t enough of an issue! Thanks for sharing and for fighting the good fight, my friend. 🙂

  11. darcie says:

    such a helpful post!
    I’ve been doing these things for awhile now (thanks to you!!) but love love love helping other folks understand why I don’t just have ‘the good stuff’ in our bowl!

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