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Halloween is a wonderful day for both kids and parents alike. Kids enjoy nothing more than dressing up as their favorite characters, walking around the neighborhood with friends, and getting treats. As parents, we love to see our children’s eyes light up as they transform into their latest obsession and we stand proudly on the sidewalk as they walk up to each door exclaiming, “Trick or Treat!” We have fond memories of doing the same things as a kid, and it’s a joy to watch our children follow in the same traditions.
But if you are a parent of a child with allergies, you often become the villain to their superhero inspired costume. You have to carefully inspect all packaging to be sure the contents don’t include any harmful allergens, reading ingredient lists and “processed in facilities” lists before they can dig into their loot, throwing away delicious contraband that might make them sick. Luckily, with the growing knowledge of allergies and sensory issues, there are now more and more options to ensure that there are treats out there for everyone to enjoy.
The Teal Pumpkin Project
No one put much thought into buckets of Halloween treats until recent years. It used to be that families would simply buy a host of candies (usually the ones that the parents liked best!) and dump them into a festive bowl. Sometimes, in smaller neighborhoods, you might get some homemade treats but those have long since gone. Both of these traditions have faded partially because of the rise in knowledge of allergens and sensory disorders among youth.
The Teal Pumpkin Project was born through the innovation of a few moms and a local food allergy awareness organization in Tennessee who felt their children were missing out on the joys of Halloween due to their severe allergies. They began the venture of asking families who have allergen-free treats at their home to place a teal colored pumpkin at their front door so trick-or-treaters with allergies would know it was safe to accept candy from there. Over the years the Teal Pumpkin Project has expanded to include children with sensory disorders, letting parents know that they will be accommodating and understanding to those who may be uncomfortable with traditional trick-or-treater roles.
The Teal Pumpkin Project has provided parents of children with special needs the comfort in knowing that their child can safely and happily trick-or-treat at specific homes in their neighborhoods. It has also raised awareness to those who do not have allergies or special needs in their families to help the community by accommodating for those who need it. Participation is simple – paint or purchase a teal colored pumpkin and place it at your doorstep. Then trick-or-treaters and their families will know that your house is a safe place to visit on Halloween night.
To read more about the Teal Pumpkin Project, click here.
Ideas for Allergen-Free Treats
When parents think of things to pass out other than candy, their minds often wander to non-food treats such as plastic toys, pencils, or stickers. Although these are great options to offer children with allergies, some children would still like to join in on getting a sweet treat for their sweet tooth. The major food allergies to be aware of during the Halloween season are nuts (both tree and ground), dairy, soy, and wheat. Many popular candies and treats have at least one of these ingredients found in their ingredient list- some might even have all of them! That’s why it’s always important to read the labels of what you are purchasing to be sure they are allergen free.
Welch’s Fruit Snacks are a great option to provide a sweet treat that is allergen free. Their Halloween-themed snacks are perfect for this season, and they have flavors that all kids are sure to enjoy. They contain no nuts, soy, wheat, dairy, or preservatives. They are also a healthier alternative to some traditional Halloween candy since they are fat free and contain vitamins A, C, and E. Welch’s Fruit Snacks are also great for class parties, especially in schools where you have many children who may be allergic to many different things.
Want more facts on Welch’s allergen information? Click here to find out more about their fruit snacks and other products.
Below are a list of other allergen-free treats (including non-food items) you can provide your trick-or-treaters this Halloween season:
- Glow sticks
- Freeze-dried fruit
- Bouncy balls
- Rice cereal marshmallow treats
- Gummy bears/worms (check packaging)
- Small notepads/coloring books
- Lollipops (check packaging)
- Gluten-free pretzels or crackers
However, if you are reading this article, there is a chance that you are the parent of a child with an allergy. So how can you let neighbor’s know that your child has an allergy, or send a reminder to those who forget? Send them a note! Print out the form below and stick it in your neighbors’ mailboxes before Halloween rolls around to let them know you’d appreciate an allergen-free treat at their doorstep!
Every child thinks about Halloween as a time to dress up and get treats. As parents, we don’t want to take the fun away by taking half their loot because of severe allergies. Look for the teal pumpkins in your neighborhood, or spread awareness before this Halloween by asking neighbors to provide allergen-free options in their cauldrons. And even if your child doesn’t have any food allergies, be a kind neighbor and provide an allergen-free option, like Welch’s Fruit Snacks, to those in need.
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To read more about food allergies, check out Tips & Tricks for Dealing with an Uncommon Food Allergy here on Daily Mom!