Trick-or-Treating - Peanut Allergy Information

Trick-or-Treating

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This will be our daughter's first Halloween with a peanut allergy. She will be 23 months and won't be eating candy but am wondering how to go about trick-or-treating. Are there certain candy that is peanut free that is recommended? Do you get a special bag of candy to swap out with after trick-or-treating? Just looking for safe ways to make the night fun!

By smithdcrk on Aug 31, 2014

With children with multiple intolerances/allergies in our house we did something similar. Unless the item is dangerous to have in the bag (ie paper sack of peanuts), they graciously say "Thank you!" and move on to the next house. At home the candy was sorted in piles, they traded "safe" and "not safe" treats and put the treats safe for each in their own pumpkins to be enjoyed as a school lunch treat, leaving the "unsafe" candy (allergenic, non-US/Canada made or unlabeled) in piles by the hearth.

Linus and Charlie Brown were favorite characters and we watched "Great Pumpkin" as part of Halloween tradition. In honor or Linus's faith, we leave the unsafe candy for The Great Pumpkin who swooshes in amid a swirl of leaves while all are asleep. The leaves are everywhere in the house, but clearly mark his path. In and out and down the walkway!

The Great Pumpkin often leaves something small behind, not always candy but always a treasure: special tea, a craft project, art supplies, legos or batteries - "happies." These are often dollar store or sale items that I stash for when someone needs a pick me up. TGP also left mementos for the pets (tanks were rearranged, dog treats tucked into crevices).

With so much emphasis on food during the holidays, children with allergies can feel most excluded. It is a time they must exercise the greatest restraint when they are the most excited. So the Great Pumpkin swoops in, just like in the show to remind us the holidays are not about gifts or food, but companionship and faith.

Oddly enough, TGP generally leaves the candy in the breakroom at my husband's work. Go figure? :o)

By GrownUpLaurenMom on Aug 30, 2014

I would go to a local penny-candy store and bought a lot of PN-free candy - different/unique things - small toys ( like the kind you might get at a doctor's office after a shot). Each PN candy she got trick-or-treating was replaced with something I bought. Everything taken from her went into the give-out pile. All left-over candy donated to a local business who sends care packages to troops overseas.

HTH

By shellz315 on Sep 2, 2014

Thank you for the suggestions! I like the idea of swapping with something other than candy. I would've never thought of the Great Pumpkin idea either! I will keep these in mind!

By PeanutAllergy.com on Sep 12, 2014

Question of the Week: Answered!Every week, PeanutAllergy.com answers one of the questions posted in our community.Our Answer:

First of all, it is great that you are being cautious so far in advance! It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Halloween can be a stressful time for many PA families for obvious reasons. The combination of neighbors giving out candy with unknown allergens and children swapping their candy with each other is scary.

Try not to worry about the trick-or-treating aspect. Make sure your daughter has fun and doesn’t feel like she has to be nervous during the activity. Because your daughter is so young, you can have one bag for any candy people give you. Later on, when you get back home, you can sort out the candy for her. Here are some more tips for celebrating Halloween safely with a food allergy.

Candy is tricky because even some that do not contain nuts are processed with peanuts or may have traces of peanut in them. As a general rule, if it is a sugar-based candy (like Skittles), it’s probably peanut-free. However, if it has chocolate, it is best to wait to check and make sure it is peanut-free. This community post has plenty of safe candy options.

Finally, consider bringing a small bag of candy that you know is peanut-free so your daughter can eat candy while trick-or-treating. This can provide peace of mind knowing your daughter won’t accidentally ingest any allergens. Here is another community post with some great advice for safely celebrating Halloween.

We asked our Facebook fans to share their thoughts on your question. You can read their helpful feedback here.

By MBorelli on Sep 14, 2014

First thing is that your daughter probably won't remember what is put in her treat bag. Second, even if a candy such as a Tootsie Roll, which is a nut free candy, why would you want your 23 month old to eat that type of unhealthy food.. Third, you don't know the manufacturing of the candy.

My 5 yo son, who is Peanut and Tree Nut allergic goes trick or treating and does a swap for "safe" treats. My wife makes chocolate covered raisins using peanut free chocolate from Vermont Nut Free Chocolate. We let him have Hershey Kisses that we know came from a bag that is from a peanut /tree nut free facility. We gave him halloween themed goldfish crackers and he enjoyed it.

Halloween is what you make it and if you feel that you want your daughter to have the same experience as other kids, she just won't because of her allergy and thats okay, so its up to you to make it similar and enjoyable.

By jap on Sep 14, 2014

There are lots of candy that is safe to give out, read all the ingredients (esp may contain) Give out those candies to trick or treaters and they will also be safe. If you then go trick or treating swap the left over candies you have at home for what your child has collected.You could also trade in what she has gathered for money and take her toy shopping or to McDonalds for lunch.

Call me radicle but with a 40 % obesity rate in our children why not boycott this activity altogether , when are we going to wake up to old habits, secondly we teach our children all year regards strangers and on the 31st we let them go to anybodies house and take items from strangers ???

By Bakermom01 on Sep 14, 2014

I would order some fun candies from Peanutfreeplanet.com for your daughter ahead of time so we can enjoy. I would NOT accept any candy from anyone when you take your daughter Trick or Treating. It is great that you are doing that, but it is extremely risky since most candy bars and treats out there have peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, or traces of those. I don't know how severe your daughter's allergies are but I would be so careful. We live and learn. Our daughter is almost 14 years old and we have learned, lived, and managed this ever since she was 2. Hers are very severe so we have to be so careful, to maintain her alive. Peanutfreeplanet.com has all kinds of chocolate treats and everything that you can think of..., candy bars, Skippers (a form of M&Ms, the Dark Chocolate ones only are processed in the facilities that process milk) and are out of the world! None of their products contains tree nuts, or peanuts, but some do have milk or/and milk traces.

Enjoy taking your daughter out for Trick or Treating, but like I said, it depends on the severity of her allergies. But I would not risk my daughter's life if I were you. Especially at her age, you don't know yet how severe it really is until later on. Take care!!!

By Trish0406 on Sep 15, 2014

My son has a severe peanut and tree nut allergy. He is 3 this year and this will be his second time trick or treating so I understand the concern as we were worried last year. We made it clear that he wasn't allowed to open or eat any candy while trick or treating as we need to be sure that it is safe for him first. Some of our neighbours actually made an effort to pack nut free goodie bags for him with rice crispy squares, chips and mini colouring books and stickers and tattoos. He even got a few play dough tubs and juice boxes which he really liked. I carried a bag to dump out the excess candy when his bin got too heavy and this allowed me to pick through quickly for the ones with nuts and hand them off to other older kids or parents who I knew didn't have a nut allergy. When we got home, we sorted through his loot and created a safe pile of candy. We have a mini Halloween bin which he filled with candy and treats he wanted from the safe stash. This year however we have been preparing him by having him recognize the packaging of candies that he can and cannot eat and looking for the peanut free logo. When they are 2, they don't quite understand their nut allergy and are just happy to run along with the other kids. But now that he is 3 he is used to us reading ingredients to be sure it is safe, or passing off food when we aren't sure. This year same no eating rule applies but I will indeed sort through the candy loot with him and have him learn which ones are safe to consume.

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