Every kid in Houston, Texas loves Halloween, right? Wrong. Those with food allergies are often forced to sit on the sidelines rather than participate in the festivities with their friends. We have come up with some suggestions on how to help any child, regardless of their food allergies, enjoy the holiday.
More people than you may think suffer from food allergies. Up to 15 million Americans are reported to have food allergies; this number includes 5.9 million children under age 18. That’s 1 in 13 children.
Any food has the potential for someone to be allergic to it. There are eight foods that account for almost 90 percent of all food allergies. These foods are: shellfish, fish, wheat, soy, eggs, milk, tree nuts and peanuts.
Can You Have an Allergen-Free Halloween?
As you can see from the list above, most of the popular candy brands have at least one of those potentially dangerous ingredients. So what do you do? Your Houston allergist has come up with two options to ensure your child has an enjoyable and safe Halloween.
Trade it in. This option involves letting your child go trick-or-treating with their friends throughout your Houston neighborhood. With instructions to not eat any of the candy while out, kids can then return home and trade in their bag full of candy for a safe candy you already purchased. They can also trade their candy for a non-food item like a book or a toy. What do you do with all the extra candy? That’s up to you! Either eat it yourself or donate it to a charity of your choice.
Pass it out. Before your child goes out trick-or-treating, drop by your neighbors’ houses and give them some allergen-free candy. Then, when your child arrives at the house, your neighbors can give them candy they can actually eat. This is more realistic if you have a young child who will only be visiting a few houses.
The Teal Pumpkin Project
FARE’s Teal Pumpkin Project is a worldwide movement to create a safer, happier Halloween for all kids. Last year, almost 18,000 households from all 50 states participated.
The Teal Pumpkin Project advocates for families to purchase and hand out non-food treats as a way to include children with food allergies or other conditions in the holiday celebration. In order to let others know you are participating, families are asked to place a teal pumpkin outside their house.
FARE’s website has a number of printable signs, posters and information that you can use to get started in this worthwhile project.
As you can see, Halloween does not need to be restrictive; all children can participate. To learn more, contact your Houston allergist today.