Has your child ever felt left out at Halloween because of their food allergies? An overwhelming 8 out of 10 families say they have, according to a recent survey* I carried out with Marty’s Universe.
Halloween may be filled with ghosts and ghouls but for most people with food allergies, it’s the treats and sweets that are the scary part. 90% of parents said they worry that their child’s allergy will not be taken into consideration.
J and Miss A are both now at school and excited about celebrating Halloween with their friends. J has been planning his outfit for the last month! As a parent, I obviously worry about keeping them safe with their food allergies but also, just as importantly, about keeping them included.
So how can you make sure you have an out of this world Halloween, and not let food allergies ruin the fun?
Host your own party
We’ve hosted our own Halloween party before and the children loved it! We did a few simple crafts, decorated some allergy friendly cupcakes, and let them all run around with glow sticks in the garden when it got dark. It means you can be in control of the food you serve and shows other parents how easy it can be to host an allergy friendly event.
Make food fun
When you are dealing with food allergies, it is important that food isn’t always seen as dangerous and you encourage your children to cook and create in the kitchen. We loved making these little Marty’s monsters and using simple cut up vegetables and dairy free cheese to design some spooky faces. Have a themed picnic at home or put them in your child’s lunchbox to extend the fun.
Turn it teal
The Teal Pumpkin Project is a brilliant initiative that involves painting a pumpkin teal – the colour of food allergy awareness – and leaving it on your doorstep. This shows people that instead of just offering sweets and chocolate, you also have non-food treats available like stickers or glow sticks. This makes it inclusive for everyone and also provides lots of healthier and long-lasting options!
Trick or treat – but do not eat
If your child is going trick or treating, it’s important to take precautions to keep them safe. A simple one is not to eat any sweets or treats until the get home. This gives you a chance to properly look at all the ingredients and check what is safe. Also ensure they carry their medication and wash or wipe their hands, or even wear gloves as part of their costume, to stop any cross contamination.
The switch witch is a lovely idea to help ease the disappointment that many young children feel when they can’t eat a lot of the treats they have collected. Stock up on safe chocolate, sweets or non-food alternatives and for everything they can’t have, the switch witch replaces it with something that they can enjoy.
Finally, why not encourage your neighbours or school to get involved in an allergy friendly Halloween. We’ve handed out non-food treats and leaflets about the teal pumpkin project in the playground, make sure any food treats we offer are allergy friendly and try to show people how a few small changes can make a big difference for families with food allergies.
Disclosure: This is a paid post as part of my Brand Ambassador role with Marty’s Universe. All words and opinions are my own.
*Survey via Survey Monkey, 100 allergy impacted families, October 2019.