8 Tips for Trick-or-Treating with Food Allergies


Don’t get spooked by Halloween allergens!

1. Set the Rules Long before the kids put on their costumes, establish the protocol. An example: No candy is eaten until everyone gets home and labels are read.

2. Banish Hunger Don’t hit the pavement until your kiddos have eaten a hearty dinner. Children are less likely to sneak a sample when their tummies are full.

3. Carry Supplies Have a safe snack with you in case hunger strikes while you’re trekking around the neighborhood. And don’t forget to bring along your child’s emergency medicine.

4. Sort It Out Upon arriving home, sort your child’s candy stash into safe piles and discard the no-nos. (Remember to wash hands and candy buckets.) Consider donating unwanted candy to a local organization that shares with those in need or overseas troops, such as Operation Gratitude.

5. Make a Trade Swap your child’s trick-or-treat candy for a highly sought-after prize. Many kids love to trade in and trade up. Whether your child wants a new game or the latest book by a favorite author, he or she can safely participate in trick-or-treat with a big reward afterward.

6. Enlist Your Neighbors Pre-bag your child’s favorite safe treats and take them to selected friends in your neighborhood. (Work this out with them ahead of time.) When your child arrives at these deignated homes, he or she gets the special bag of goodies that you prepared. This option works best with very young kids. It gives you a lot of control but it takes some prep work.

7. Think Non-Food Items Simple, inexpensive trinkets—glow sticks, pencils, bubbles, balls, bookmarks—make fun treats for Halloween offerings. This is the idea behind the Teal Pumpkin Project, started in 2014 by FARE to raise food allergy awareness and now gaining popularity across the nation. For more information and to download the Teal Pumpkin Project’s free flyers and other materials, go to foodallergy.org.

8. Have a Blast! Trick-or-treating isn’t the only exciting thing to do on Halloween. Organize a fun child-directed activity instead. Enjoy game night at home, go out to a bone-chilling movie, visit your favorite allergy-friendly restaurant or throw a Halloween party and serve allergy-friendly goodies.