Isn’t this such an amazing time of year? I love the fall….the colors, the apples, the crispness. It marks the beginning of a stretch of holidays that are filled with fun, family and food. But, for food allergy families, events that revolve around food can be very stressful. In order to not take any of the fun out of the holiday season I find that the best thing a parent can do for their child is be prepared. When we travel for Thanksgiving, we bring JT’s entire meal. At Christmas time, we always have JT safe Christmas cookies and treats so he isn’t left out.
Halloween can be tougher though. It’s much more difficult to be in control of the foods that your child will be exposed to. Chris and I don’t want JT to miss out on any of the fun of Halloween so we do go Trick or Treating with him. When he was just a baby we only brought him to a few houses and didn’t even collect candy. When he was a toddler, we stashed our pockets with raisins and pretended to collect them from each family. We wondered what he would think of this strange holiday when you have to get dressed up and everyone gives you raisins 🙂 As he got older we would check out the candy supply at each house, (very briefly) explain JT’s allergies, and then take candy that was safe or pass on candy that wasn’t (although sometimes Chris will grab some chocolate for us to eat after the kids are asleep!). We always have a back up supply of candy at home so that if he were ever to come home empty-handed we would have a big stash of goodies waiting for him. I’m sure this will become even more difficult for us as he gets a little older and how much candy he collects becomes a bigger deal. I remember filling pillow cases to the brim as a kid. For now though, we are happy with a small haul. Who needs all that candy anyway?
If collecting candy from others is out of the question for you, consider these options:
- Give pre-packed and sealed bags of treats to neighbors beforehand and collect only from those houses on Halloween
- Give neighbors non-food treats beforehand (play-dough, squinkies, glow sticks, etc.)
- Stash your pockets with safe treats and pretend, if your child is young enough!
- Trick or Treat for FAAN
If you need ideas for “safe” candy check out this great list from AllergyMoms newsletter! And if you are NOT the parent of an allergic child you can help too. It’s certainly not your responsibility to know what children in your neighborhood can or can not eat, but it might be nice to keep a few things aside that are chocolate and peanut free…just in case. You could make some kids (Moms!) night!