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Food allergies and Halloween – how to turn scary into sweet

For the 2.2 million kids (and growing) who have food allergies, Halloween traditionally presents a cauldron of concerns.

Exposure and ingestion of foods that trigger allergic reactions may cause severe physiological reactions – even death – so many parents of food allergic (and food-sensitive) children work hard to create non-food based Halloween traditions for their kids.

With the epidemic of food allergic and food sensitive children in America, it may be time to lean heavily towards handing out goodies that are “treasures.” Shiny stones, (recycled) spining tops and handmade friendship bracelets are treats all children can enjoy – whether they suffer from food allergies (or other health issues such as diabetes and obesity) or not.

Another idea is to hand out candy that is less likely to be allergenic, such as the confections from or, which are not made in facilities processing wheat, peanuts, milk or eggs.

And yet another option is to allow trick-or-treating, but afterwards have a “swap.” (Health-conscious parents may want to do the same.)

Swapping is simple: allow your child to trade some candy for a few pre-purchased or made treat or treasure items that won’t cause a problem. If you’d like, you can then invite the Halloween Fairy/Sugar Sprite/Great Pumpkin/ or Candy Witch to your home to take the rest of the loot – leaving another treasure behind (see previous posts here and here for more on this tradition).

How do you handle Halloween and other food-focused occasions?

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