The Scariest Thing About Halloween

Halloween and Food Allergies

Once upon a time, oh maybe about 9 years or more ago, I would have looked at the above scene with delight.  The first thing I’d go for is a Reese’s Cup.

Oh how I miss those!

I remember the thrill of going out trick-or-treating with my siblings and coming back home with the loot.  We used to take for granted something so small as being able to enjoy it without reading labels.

Having children with deadly food allergies has put things into a different perspective.  What once gave me warm fuzzy feelings now gives me a feeling of dread and apprehension.During this time of year store owners everywhere are offering my kiddos candy.   It’s EVERYWHERE!!

Having strangers dig their hands through a bowl of peanut containing candy to find a “safe” candy for my child is just not practical.  Packages can tear open and residue can trickle out onto otherwise “safe” candy.

A common scene while checking out at the grocery store – “would you like a piece of candy?”.  This very well meaning question causes anxiety for me, the mom of children with deadly food allergies.  I have to ask the question(and sound like overprotective food allergy mom) – Do you have the package?  Can I read it?

In most cases I have to politely decline explaining that my sons have food allergies, and that it could kill them..yada yada yada.  I then get the looks – they look at my son with pity.  They look at me with suspicion –   Poor kid, his mom won’t let him have candy.

It’s not only Trick or Treating and Grocery Shopping that’s unsafe either.  Many churches have Fall festivals this time of year and there is candy everywhere – Snickers, M&M’s, Reese’s Cups, and so on and so on.  All of which are dangerous for my kiddo.

To those who provide candy to children during this time of year I have a suggestion.  It’s ok to have the grab bowl of candy for the kiddos with whatever yummy treats you desire!

BUT…What about this?

  • Buy a bag of Dum Dums, Smarties, or Skittles just for the Food Allergy Kiddos
  • Keep it in the original packaging so the overprotective food allergy mom can read it and approve it!
  • Allow the kiddo to reach into the bag & grab it for him/herself.

This small gesture would help me and my kiddos enjoy this fun time of year so much more!

How do you handle food allergies during this time of year?  I’d love to hear your suggestions!


  1. Candice James Stoves via Facebook says:

    Thank you so much for posting this! I sometimes feel so alone in these emotions and worries. I am very anxious about trick or treating with my 3 year old this year, because it’s the first year that he is old enough to try digging into his candy while we are trick or treating. Last year was easy…I just separated and inspected everything when we got home. But I can totally see him trying to get into the candy while we are out this year. Do you suggest turning candy down at people’s doors? Do you find out what they are giving out before they give it to your kids? How do you handle this in a way that isn’t perceived as ungrateful?

  2. Food Allergy Cooking via Facebook says:

    I think it depends on the severity of your son’s allergies. My boys are so highly allergic that even peanut residue could cause a reaction. For that reason we only go to family/friend’s homes that know we’re coming and plan for us. We also do something else fun so they can still have a “fun” time without going door to door. It’s just too dangerous for them to risk it. We also have a rule for Birthday parties, sunday school,etc that they do not eat/open anything until I can check it. It’s tough but unfortunately it’s necessary:( The 9 yr old gets it, but the 5 yr old is still working on it;)

    I suggest doing what you’re most comfortable with. Maybe you could carry 2 trick or treat bags & prefilling one with candy he can eat while you’re out. I know it’s tough but know that you’re not alone! There are thousands of parents with food allergy kiddos just like us:)

  3. Christine Gift via Facebook says:

    Candice, what I do with my son is that he gets to go trick or treating and get all the candy that he wants, I take only the candy I know 200% is safe and tell him this is his candy and the rest he trades in with my for a small toy that I get him. He loves the idea. I always did this with him and he can not wait to trade in his candy. I hope this is a idea that maybe you can use. Oh and Dad takes the candy that my son traded with us to work so I do not have to worry about it.

  4. Mandy Treadway Scherer via Facebook says:

    Candice – we don’t turn down the candy. We just say thank you and move on. One time before I could stop her dd said she couldn’t have something because it was chocolate and the person felt so bad for her that we ended up with some fairy wings she had in the house…yeah, so we don’t do that anymore…lol. She was 3. She knew even then not to ever eat anything that we did not inspect first. That is a rule for all my kids. And we ended up with plenty she could eat and some leftover for myself and dh, so it was all good :)

  5. Mandy Treadway Scherer via Facebook says:

    Now if she can see that there is something in the bowl of candy that she can have and the person gives her something else, she will politely ask for the starburst (or whatever) and say she is allergic to the other.

  6. Amanda Hagee via Facebook says:

    Even as a mom with NO issues at our house, we only give out Dum-Dums & Smarties & Laffy Taffy — since if there are leftovers, those are the only candies I’d want my kids to have access to for more than the next week.
    And my kids are ALSO not allowed to touch anything in their bag, if they want a piece, I look it over before I pick one to give them.

  7. Susie E says:

    I am known as the Halloween juice box lady in our neighborhood. We live in the back of a large development and the kids are always so thirsty when they get back this far. I put juice boxes and bottled water in a cooler and let the kids pick which one they want. they usually rip it open and start drinking it right away. It is very rewarding to see, and I feel that I’m giving them something healthy.

  8. Jen L. says:

    The juice box idea is GENIUS!! I always carry one with us because my son gets thirsty. Great idea for trick or treaters! My son is allergic to peanuts, so we try hard to avoid them whenever possible. I always buy a big bag of Dum Dums (his favorite) and have them at the house so we can switch those out with candy he can’t have. Fortunately, his school’s Halloween carnival is peanut-free, and the majority of his treats come from there.

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