Having a child with severe food allergies certainly has its share of challenges. There is always that constant worry that the child will come into contact with the allergen at school, at a friend’s house, at the grocery store, at the playground, on a plane, at a restaurant…this list could go on forever. My son is four years old so he doesn’t understand his allergies or limitations yet. It’s my job to protect him and try to educate the people around him, but not everyone is so understanding. Some parents argue about the no-nut rules at schools that are designed to keep children safe – not irritate parents. Birthday parties are challenging because my son often can’t eat the party food so he watches all the kids sitting at the kids table together while he has to sit somewhere else with me and eat the food I prepared for him. It breaks my heart to see him left out but that’s just a part of life with allergies. I try to make sure he’s as included in all the activities as possible but it can be difficult sometimes.
As you can imagine, Halloween is a difficult time for kids with allergies. The kids want to wear their costumes and gobble down candy but Halloween presents its own set of challenges for both parents and children with allergies. My son isn’t allowed to dig into his trick-or-treating loot without me going through it first. I have to remove everything that has come in contact with his allergen and make sure that there aren’t any open pieces that have come in contact with his “safe” candy. After I sort through his bag, he often loses close to half of it because it isn’t safe for him. Less candy isn’t necessarily a bad thing – most of us could use a break from sugary treats – but wouldn’t it be nice if kids with allergies had an alternative?
Food Allergy & Research Education (FARE) launched the Teal Pumpkin Project™ in 2014. The purpose is to raise awareness of food allergies and promote inclusion of all trick-or-treaters throughout the Halloween season. To participate, you simply place a teal pumpkin on your doorstep along with a free printable sign from FARE to show kids with allergies that you have special non-food treats for them. You can also go a step further and submit your address to a map that shows participating homes so trick-or-treaters know where to find you.
Not sure what to hand out as a non-food treat? Here are some fun ideas:
- glow bracelets
- bouncy balls
- colouring pages
- other small party favours
Thank you for helping to make Halloween special & safer for kids!
Cheryl is a Canadian mother of one who loves planning parties for all of life’s celebrations! On her Moms & Munchkins blog, you’ll find fun ideas to enjoy with your kids such as family game night ideas, free printable games, party ideas and so much more!