Most holidays can cause a lot of anxiety for a family dealing with severe food allergies, especially, since the holidays seem to always revolve around food. At first, I was saddened that our child would not be able to dive into his Halloween bag and eat anything he wanted like all the other kids. Over the years, we have learned to make sure that milk chocolate candy is not what makes Halloween great. Below, I have listed a few ideas that our family has done to make sure Halloween is a fun and allergy safe holiday.
- Ask a few neighbors and friends ahead to have some "safe" candy available so your child can trick-or-treat at their homes.
- Have a Halloween party at your home and ask everyone to wear their costumes. Give parents suggestions for safe treats to bring to the party. However, make the focus on costumes not candy. Offer prizes to the most creative, scariest, prettiest and funniest costumes. Play age appropriate games. For instance, one year friends brought their own small pumpkin to decorate. We didn't carve them. We decorated the pumpkins instead. Family Fun Magazine has great ideas for no-carve pumpkins.
- If your child's teacher is having a party in the classroom, offer to volunteer and bring a safe snack that the whole class can have. This way your child doesn't feel singled out by eating his own "different" treat. My favorite holiday treat to bring to the classroom is cupcakes and whoopie pies. Both recipes are listed on the Milk-Free Recipes page of this blog. It's easy to change the color of the frosting to fit the holiday.
- A neighborhood we once lived in organized a Halloween parade for the kids to show off their costumes in the neighborhood. Since it is usually dark when the kids go trick-or-treating and it goes by so fast, the parade gave everyone a chance to enjoy each other's costumes that some of us spend so much time making and getting ready. At the end of the parade, everyone gathered in one yard to play games and decorate pumpkins. Again, this was all about the costumes not the candy.
- Now that my son is getting older, we are much more comfortable letting him go door to door with his friends without Mom and Dad hovering over him. We let him make the choice to take the milk-chocolate candy or not. He knows not to eat anything until he comes home and we check the bag together. If he comes home with milk-chocolate, then he gets to trade with his brother or we have milk-free candy saved for him to trade for. In the end, he always has plenty. Most importantly, he has a blast putting his costume together and walking around the neighborhood with his friends.