How to Enjoy Trick-or-Treating if Your Family Has Got Food Allergies

Halloween is a scary, fun time for many families across the country. This year though, it won’t be the severed limbs, vampires, or ghosts that give me a fright.

Instead, it will be the contents of my son’s treat bucket after going door-to-door around the neighborhood.

My 3-year-old son, P, has several allergies and intolerances including gluten. However, the biggest problem is the allergies to corn and eggs. Corn is so complex as there are so many derivatives that spring up in so many foods.

He is also intolerant to peanuts and cocoa beans. Lastly, he is also dye-free.

This combination means he won’t be able to eat any of the candy he collects. 

Candy bars contain corn syrup – nope.

Gummies also have corn syrup and food dye – nope.

Chocolate obviously is made from cocoa beans – nope.

Hard candy and lollipops also have corn syrup and dye – nope.

So what do we do.

Last year was the first time it hit me, but he wasn’t that aware, and I could change the contents of his treat bucket without fuss. Substituting some fruits, stickers, and crackers

But another year on, and he is more aware, so I don’t expect this year to be as easy. I also know more, so I am definitely more aware of the potential dangers of the items getting dropped in the bucket.

I have to say he is good about it.

He knows trips to the ice cream parlor mean he has to take his own unique ice cream.

If we eat out at a friend’s or restaurant. When everyone else’s meal arrives, his dinner will be taken along and whipped out of Mama’s purse.

He understands if his friends offer him some of their snacks, he can’t share unless Mama says it’s OK.

In the grocery store, he sits patiently in the cart while I study every label, asking me, “is there corn in it?”

Mostly, he is terrific about it for his age. It does frustrate him, but he understands how eating these things makes him feel, and he doesn’t want to feel like that. I am sure more will come, such as “It’s not fair!” but we will take what we can for now.

So this is why Halloween is a nightmare holiday for me, as the Mama of what sometimes feels like the only kid who is allergic to candy.

Leading me to extensive searches for safe candy last week. It turns out there is no such thing as corn-free candy. Even if it doesn’t actually contain corn, it’s often listed if the factory produces other goods that contain corn.

Fortunately, P, is classed as “corn-lite” which means it’s unlikely for him to get sick from cross-contamination of corn product, only direct contact.

$30 later, I had successfully purchased a tiny amount of chocolates (80% dark) with a Halloween-themed pumpkin wrap. I also managed to purchase some corn syrup-free lollipops. All completely overpriced but worth it for a holiday he loves.

I will also get some temporary tattoos, stickers, and small toys to add to the bucket to try and get his haul somewhere near the other kids.

After trick or treating, there is always something you need to throw away in any kid’s bucket – allergies or not. So I plan to swap things out as we review the hauls and add to his bucket.

I have also explained that he can go trick or treating with his brother and his friends, but the candy won’t be safe, and we will either have to give that to his friends or throw it away. BUT it will be worth it with all the safe treats we have lined up for him instead.

Right now, he is super excited about what will end up in his bucket and knows he won’t miss out on Halloween.

At his age, being able to fully process all this and not get frustrated is a big ask. So we will have to see how the evening works out when he is not allowed to eat the candy given to him when his friends can.

With that in mind, I will take some safe candy, fruits, and crackers out with me, so when the kids start eating the candy as we go around, he will also be able to have a few treats.

The final thing I want to share is a relatively new concept, for me anyway. “The Teal Pumpkin Project,” led by FARE.

They encourage housholds to provide non-candy treats on Halloween. Anyone taking part puts a teal pumpkin on the porch to let people know there are non-candy treats.

We will give away stickers, temporary tattoos, erasers, pens, pencils, and crayons. Simple, healthy, and safe. 

I hope you love this idea and encourage you to try it.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock

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