My kids love Halloween. Nothing can stop their chubby little fingers from ringing doorbells and touching every piece of candy in the nice bowl that our neighbors put in front of them as they scream TRICK OR TREAT!!! Of course I stand on the sidewalk and laugh as they gleefully run from door to door trying to see what their next prize will be.
I love to see the joy on my kids' faces as they have the freedom to go ring the doorbell and choose the candy of their choice. I love this because my kids are free of allergies. My kids do not have to worry about what they choose, what they pick, what they touch, what doorbell they ring (outside of the creepy neighbor factor).
We are free to run, explore, sample, and have fun. Oh... and we do!
Are all kids free to do the same? No.
I learned this one year when trick or treating with a great little four year old peanut and tree nut allergy ambassador and his family. He still sprinted from house to house with the joy and enthusiasm of my kids but he would not be eating what he was received
I watched while this little one would kindly ask for a candy that did not have any peanuts in it. Some parents would laugh and look for a candy that was not a snickers, and send some other not peanut heavy chocolate item with him. Little did they know that those had been manufactured in a facility with peanuts and they would not be safe for him anyway. I guess at the time I appreciated the effort of those families that listened to him, but knowing that even those treats could send him to the hospital or worse made me think about how stressful this day can be for so many families.
It does not have to be this way though. Not at every house, and this year not at my house.
What if with very little effort you knew you could provide something for the child that was truly safe? Would you do it?
Would you want every child coming to your door to have the same joyful, youthful, fun loving Halloween that we took for granted as kids.
My answer it yes.
So how do you do this? Well check this out...
It is called the TEAL PUMPKIN PROJECT!
You put a teal colored pumpkin on your step to let allergy families know that you are allergy friendly. That you are providing a safe alternative for their child. A food free treat.
Now due to the fact that some people do not want to stop handing out candy ...what if I said that even that was still possible? Why not buy a bag of dum dums , or Wonka candy, that does not have an allergy warning on it? Why not pick up a bag of candy that does not say manufactured in a facility that processes PN /TN on the ingredient list? Why not put them in a separate bowl or just give out glow sticks and tattoos? Is that effort any different than buying three bags of snickers and throwing them in a bowl? I mean... hello dollar store!! Now to be fair those candies are just PN / TN free but do you have to give candy at all? Why not be creative with your handouts... give it a try... you might like it.
Do you want to know the coolest part about this for non-allergy families. You can take it as an opportunity to TEACH your kids. Your kids will learn empathy. Learn about the fact that you can make the world easier for others. You can acknowledge differences and celebrate together. As a side note - lets be honest ---your kids will also love painting a pumpkin and putting some teal glitter on it while they are learning a valuable lesson. Really my daughter would roll in teal glitter if she could. Make your pumpkin just as unique as the kids trick or treating at your house.
Allergies are not going away. If anything they are on the rise. This is something that our kids will deal with when we are not with them. How would you want your kid to react in a school setting when they have a friend that has an allergy. Do you want them to have empathy for that friend? Do you want them to show another person kindness? Would you want someone to show a little kindness to your child? Why not start at home on a holiday that can be much too scary for some.
If you want a list of safe items check out this link...
Happy Halloween Everyone.
Have a safe and happy day.
Until Next Time,