Have a safe and happy Halloween!
With Halloween just around the corner it's time to start planning the festivities! What to dress up as? Something classic like a pumpkin or a witch, or something unusual that will have people guessing? If you have kids, will they go trick-or-treating? Will there be a Halloween party at school?
With all these questions there is also the issue of inclusivity and safety. Each family or individual has their own way of doing it that suits them best. When I was a kid, my mom would stay home and hand out candy while my dad would take my brother and I trick-or-treating with the other neighborhood kids. Some of the neighbors knew about our allergies and set aside safe candies for us, and others handed us the same candies as everyone else. Either way we were so happy to be taking part in this tradition with our friends. When we got home we'd sit in the living room, so excited to be still in our costumes and high on the thrill of walking around at night in a pack, and sort through our bounty. I had 4 piles: Mandy safe candy, unsafe candy, nut-free candy for my brother, and suspect candy (ripped package or what I deemed potential razor-in-the-apple situation).
At that time I was allergic to peanuts, nuts, and dairy. A popular Canadian candy brand called Maynard's produced several kinds of candy that I could have, and fortunately they were extremely popular at Halloween. My brother is allergic to nuts and peanuts but not my other allergens, so he'd take all my nut-free chocolate bars and swap me for mini bags of chips, and our parents would take the rest.
This was our way of participating in Halloween festivities because it worked well for us. My mom always set aside some extra safe candy and chips to top up my pile, but it was really never about the candy for me, it was about the thrill and excitement of the night. Other families may choose to do Halloween differently, opting for a party at their house or handing out non-food items. However you choose to manage it, safety and inclusivity is the most important thing! Do what feels right for you.
And if you have an allergy-safe house be sure to put out a teal pumpkin to alert other allergy families that you're there. Have some non-food items ready and plenty of top allergen-free treats, such as MadeGood Crispy Squares and Enjoy Life mini chocolate chip snack packs or dark chocolate chip morsels snack packs. Ensuring everyone can be included in the candy fest is a special part about Halloween!
For FREE resources, posters, and colouring pages from the Teal Pumpkin Project visit FARE's website here.