Tips for a Safe, Happy, and Inclusive Halloween

safehappyhalloween

It’s almost Halloween, which means trick -or-treating will be coming to your neighborhood soon. For kids with food allergies, celiac disease, diabetes or epilepsy, Halloween, can be a bit scary, and not just because of the witches, ghosts, and goblins.

My goal is to make trick-or-treating a little less “tricky” and a lot more “treaty.”

I’ve compiled my top tips for a safe, happy, and inclusive Halloween below.

Choose allergy-friendly items, if you hand out candy.

I was shopping at Target a few weeks ago when I came across their 2016 Halloween Allergen Guide. You can find it in the Halloween candy section at Target or click here. You can also find the full list by searching “Halloween Candy Allergen Info” at Target.com. This guide allows you to see which allergens are found in which candies so you have an idea of what might be safe and which ones to avoid. Target has confirmed this information with their manufacturers but you will still need to remember to read ingredient labels, as always.

If you’re looking for a slightly healthier alternative to conventional Halloween candy, Target also has a section of organic allergy-friendly candy, like YumEarth® Gummy Bears and Gummy Worms.

allergenguide

Participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project and hand out non-food treats.

The safest and most inclusive treat options are non-food treats.  It is nearly impossible to choose a food item that is safe for everyone. Some children have food allergies outside of the Top 8 most common allergens and children with diabetes, epilepsy, or feeding tubes are on restricted diets that may limit or prohibit the consumption of candy at all.

The Teal Pumpkin Project began as a local grass-roots effort by Food Allergy Community of East Tennessee (FACET) to raise awareness of food allergies and inclusion. In 2014, FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education) launched the Teal Pumpkin Project as a national campaign to help spread the message of food allergy awareness and inclusion of all children.

To participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project just follow these easy steps:

  1. Place a teal pumpkin in front of your house so that passersby know that you have non-food treats available. The girls and I loved decorating our teal pumpkins and we display them every Halloween. This year I also made a teal pumpkin Halloween wreath so that people could see it before they approached our porch. You can check them out at my etsy shop, BrightFireDecor.
  2. Display a Teal Pumpkin sign to let people know that you are participating and that you have non-food treats available. You can print one for free or purchase a more durable one on FARE’s website.
  3. Hand out safe non-food treats. You can find a variety of great toys and treasures at stores like Target, Party City, Amazon.com, and Oriental Trading Company. Just keep your eye out for cool things a kid my enjoy. Here are some of my favorite things to hand out.
    1. Pencils
    2. Pens
    3. Erasers
    4. Playing Cards
    5. Puzzles
    6. Activity Books and Crayons
    7. Balls
    8. Stickers
    9. Book Marks
    10. Small Plush Toys
    11. Miniature Notebooks
    12. Key Chains
    13. Bracelets
    14. Bubbles
  4. Avoid unsafe non-food treats. There are some non-food treats that may not be safe for all children. Here are a few things to avoid.
    1. Toys that are meant to go in your mouth. Vampire fangs and whistles are intended to go into the mouth so you have to be careful that these items have not come into contact with any allergens. Also, they are made of plastic and make contain pthalates or endocrine disruptors like BPA. I avoid handing out plastic items that don’t have a specific long-term use and definitely ones that are meant to go in the mouth.
    2. Modeling clay. Some brands of modeling clay contain wheat which is a very common allergen and could also be unsafe for children with Celiac disease.
    3. Flickering Lights or Strobe Lights. Some children with epilepsy are photosensitive and strobe lights may trigger seizures. I have also seen some flashlights meant for children that say they must be discarded with hazardous waste. That is very comforting when you’re about to hand it to a child.
    4. Latex items like balloons. Be sure to avoid items made of latex. Latex is a fairly common allergen.

tealpumpkinwreath

Follow the Safety Rules.

You can find a full list of general Halloween safety precautions in the Halloween Safety Tips 2016 guide compiled by the American Academy of Pediatrics, however, I have put together a short list of safety rules to keep in mind.

  1. Don’t allow children to eat anything from their treat bag until you have returned home and made sure everything is safe or switched it out with safe alternatives.
  2. If you plan to hand out candy and non-food treats, put the candy and non-food items in separate bowls to avoid cross-contact with allergens.
  3. Make sure your yard and porch are properly lit to avoid accidents and so that people know you are handing out candy. Turn off your lights if you are not participating or have run out of goodies.
  4. Clear your yard of water hoses and other tools so that trick-or-treaters have a safe walking path.
  5. Use battery-operated light in lanterns instead of candles.

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I hope this helps you in creating a safe, happy, and inclusive experience this Halloween! Please feel free to let me know your tips and leave a comment below.

About Tiffany deSilva

Hi I'm Tiffany deSilva, MSW, CPC, CHC, Founder of BrightFire Living, LLC. I am a social worker, speaker, author, certified health, wellness and lifestyle coach, certified green living coach and toxic-free consultant. I am passionate about helping women like you to detox each area of your life, safeguard your family's health, and live life fully charged and completely lit up! I am on a mission to empower women and families who are managing food allergies, autoimmune disorders, and other modern chronic health conditions to live a safe, happy, and healthy life that truly lights your fire!

Feedback & Comments:

  1. I love these ideas! The wreath is super cute!

  2. Excellent tips Tiffany. Love the teal pumpkin project. There’s way too much emphasis on extremely unhealthy sugary treats in general but around holidays in particular. Thanks for tips on alternative non-food treats! If more people did this we’d not only have less allergy reactions, but also less kids dealing with diabetes and weight problems.

  3. Such great tips! I love your pumpkins and sign.

  4. Love this! While we don’t have any allergies we have sensativities and many friends and family members with allergies so we did our teal pumpkin this morning!

  5. I really wish my target had the awesome display! They did have some great allergy friendly candies though.

  6. I love the teal pumpkin project! I think we’re going to give out little puzzles this year!

  7. If we got any trick or treaters I would definitely be doing this!

  8. Great tips Tiffany, couldn’t agree more that it is so important for all kids to have a safe and fun night! And I love your teal pumpkin wreaths….

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