My son is almost six years old, and do you know how many times he’s been trick-or-treating? Twice. Between sensory processing disorder and allergies to gluten and dairy, it just hasn’t been worth it. At two, there was an hour long meltdown over the costume we had bought, so we ended up just letting him go in his jammies and stomp around in these ridiculous dinosaur feet house shoes. At that point, we had found out his allergies, but he still didn’t know the difference and we could swap things out super easy without him really noticing.
But, by year three, he was well aware. Year three, we just skipped it altogether. It wasn’t worth the battle of clothing, and I knew he wouldn’t handle getting a bag full of treats he couldn’t eat, even if we gave him some alternatives. I felt so bad he was missing out, that last year I decided we would at least make a fun night of it at home. At age 4 though, he was completely aware. I was determined to make it fun for him, so I made a fun Halloween themed meal and treats at home and we watched Monster’s Inc.
But it broke my heart when he wanted to pretend to go trick-or-treating in the house. Despite my best efforts, he knew he was missing out. His friends were talking about their costumes, people were asking him what he would be for Halloween, and even though we explained to him why we weren’t going trick-or-treating and tried to make it up to him, it wasn’t the same. Ultimately, I just wasn’t willing to risk the safety of my child and his health.
Finally last year, we found a costume he could handle and loved, and it made his whole year to get to go trick or treating, REAL trick or treating with friends. He knew most of what he was getting he wouldn’t be able to eat, but I cannot tell you how HAPPY it made him to go to a house that gave out treats or prizes he KNEW he was going to get to keep.
Though being more allergen-friendly is catching on, we still have a l-o-n-g way to go. I wanted to encourage you, since you never know who is going to be coming to your door, to offer allergen-friendly treats or non-food items to your neighborhood. If you’re not familiar with food allergies, I know this can be overwhelming. A few years ago, FARE started the Teal Pumpkin Project. The Teal Pumpkin Project was started by FARE, and the idea is you paint a pumpkin teal to signify that you are a house that gives out non-food items to signify you allergen friendly for Halloween. I absolutely love this idea of giving non-candy items. It’s safe, fun to get something different, and Lord knows kids get enough sugar from now until Valentine’s Day. This is by far the safest route to go, and this doesn’t mean you can’t give out candy, you just at least have an alternative. However, I wanted to share some of my favorite allergen-friendly brands because I think kids with food allergies deserve treats too! You can find many of these at places like Target, but if not Amazon has your back!
Free from: Wheat, dairy, tree nuts, peanuts, casein, soy, egg, sesame, sulfites, crustaceans, shellfish, lupin and mustard.
This is our favorite brand for chocolate! It is seriously absolutely delicious. We love their chocolate chips, protein bites, chocolate bars, cookies, everything! But for Halloween, these individually wrapped chocolate squares are perfect to give out to little trick or treaters!
Free from: Wheat, dairy, tree nuts, peanuts, soy, fish, shellfish, and egg.
We love this brand for one of Kai’s favorite treats, suckers! Added bonus, no food dyes because though Kai isn’t allergic to dyes, they certainly affect his behavior. He also loves their gummy bears and sour beans (think jelly beans). We haven’t tried them yet but they also have hard candies, licorice, sour twists, and candy corn! These are perfect treats to give out! We like the discount we get through Thrive Market, as we keep these around for Kai’s treat box year round. You can also find them on their website, or easily get some fun halloween themed fruit snacks, candy corn, and buy some bigger packages of suckers on Amazon.
Free from: Wheat, dairy, soy (also free from tree nuts, peanuts, shellfish, but I have not checked if this is made in a nut free facility).
Quick note, the sea salt flavor is the only one we eat because some of the other flavors do have dairy, so just be aware. This will give a little something salty and crunchy for a change of pace instead of all sweets! I don’t know a kid who doesn’t love these, and they come in fun halloween shapes of “ghosts and ghouls.” A great option for your trick or treaters!
Free From: Gluten, dairy, soy, tree nuts, peanuts, shellfish, eggs.
We love us some Annie’s bunny fruit snacks! Not everything Annie’s makes is gluten and dairy free, but their fruit snacks are! On top of that, they are non-gmo and free of dyes, hallelujah! There’s a great halloween themed pack of them to give out to trick or treaters.
Free From: Gluten, dairy, tree nuts, peanuts, eggs, soy, shellfish.
What kid doesn’t like food in a pouch? GoGo SqueeZ applesauce pouches are an easy yes for us. It’s literally just organic apples, apple puree and apple concentrate. There are lots of apple and other fruit combos, but we usually stick to the classic. These are a great, healthier option especially for those adorable toddlers that come to your door!
I’ll stop with these top five so as not to overwhelm you, but I hope this encourages you to keep some of these things at your door so that everyone who comes has an option. As a mom to a child with food allergies, I cannot tell you how much it means to me to see other people in the neighborhood be cognizant and care, and I think when you see a child’s face light up like mine does when he gets something he can have, it’ll be worth it to you too.
I like to do a combination of both treat items like some of these and non-food items. Halloween stickers, tattoos, glow sticks, are all super fun, cheap options for kids!
If you decide to join in on this allergen-friendly halloween, I’d love for you to tag me on social media and be sure to share this and encourage other neighbors to join in!