by Sarah Stout
Halloween can be fun and exciting for everyone. With the increase in food allergies in recent years, there is growing awareness of those that require special dietary accommodations. Although family members are generally supportive, they often try to show their love by handing out delicious treats that are poison for individuals with food allergies and/or sensitivities. In order to avoid hard feelings, teary eyes or emergency room visits, it is recommended to plan in advance to make Halloween fun, stress-free and safe.
Top allergens include milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy and wheat. Because they are also the foundations of many holiday recipes, modifications are generally necessary to find tasty alternatives. Depending on a child’s age, we may want to limit trick-or-treating to those homes or places that we have confirmed to have safe treats.
Here are some safe suggestions.
Read all labels carefully, as some allergens are not required to be listed in bold.
Buy safe treats in advance and provide each neighbor or place (school, mall, church, etc.) with some safe treats to give to the child when they come by. We might also be doing a good deed for other children with food allergies.
Host a Halloween party at home.
Trick-or-treat with two bags: one for safe treats and the other for unsafe treats to trade with the child for other treats and non-food items.
Provide schools and neighbors with a list of safe treats to build awareness in the community about safer options for all children.
Always carry an Epi-Pen, just in case.
Contact the Teal Pumpkin Project for lists of non-food treat ideas, posters and information to share with neighbors.
The Teal Pumpkin Project (Tinyurl.com/TealPumpkinHalloweenProject) sponsored by Food Allergy & Research, has many national and corporate manufacturing partners to safeguard the health of children with allergies around the world. Participating in the campaign is as simple as painting a pumpkin teal, buying inexpensive non-food treats such as glow sticks or small toys and placing the teal pumpkin on the doorstep to show non-food treats are available.
Top Eight Allergen-Safe Treats
Surf Sweets candies, Enjoy Life Foods Chocolates, cookies and chocolate chips, No Whey chocolates, Pascha chocolates, Yum Earth candies, Dum Dum lollipops, Gimbals jelly beans and soft chews, Skittles, Starburst and LifeSavers.
Sarah Stout, a doctor of naturopathy, CCN, CNHP, HHC, certified clinical nutritionist, raw food chef, author and owner of Reinventing Wellness, LLC, offers nutritionist services, homeopathy, meal planning, customized recipe creation, raw food cooking classes in the in the Capital District. For more information, visit ReinventingWellness.com.