Before Maya was diagnosed with a peanut and tree-nut allergy I didn’t give any thought to what kids with nut allergies did on Halloween. Trick-or-treating is a big part of Halloween and probably the part kids most look forward too. Going around the neighborhood in their costume collecting candy from all the neighbors is what people most associate with Halloween. However, if you have a child with a nut allergy the candy part of Halloween can become a bit scary. A lot of what ends up in your child’s trick-or-treat bag will either contain nuts or present a cross contamination risk. You don’t want to have to take that joy of trick-or-treating away from your child. They go through enough in life because of their nut allergy that makes them feel different, this doesn’t need to be one of them.
Making Halloween safe for your nut allergy child doesn’t have to be difficult, it just requires a little forethought on your part and a little imagination to make your child feel special and not left out.
If you are comfortable it is perfectly safe to continue to let your child trick-or-treating with his or her brothers and sisters and friends. Set specific ground rules and make them apply to all your children. Such as, no one is to eat, unwrap, play with anything they get in their trick-or-treat bag until they get home and you have a chance to examine it all (this rule should apply regardless of whether your child has a nut allergy or not). Once your child gets home take their trick-or-treat bag and go through it. Remove all candy that contains or may contain nuts. Many parents with nut allergy kids do an exchange, for everything they take away they replace it with something that is safe. You could also just have a trick-or-treat bag pre-made for them them and when they come home exchange they bag they have for the new safe bag.
There is plenty of Halloween candy that is safe for nut allergy kids. Here is a list of a few I could think of (be sure to always read the label as some manufacturers may change their processes at any time):
- Skittles (all varieties)
- Most jelly beans
- Anything made by Haribo
- Hershey Kisses (except the peanut butter and almond varieties)
- Full size Hershey Milk Chocolate and Krackle bars
- Milk Duds
- Hershey Kissables (great M&M alternative)
- Many Wonka products including; nerds, bottle caps, runts, gob stoppers, pixy stix and tart n tiny.
- Smarties (rockets for my Canadian readers ;))
- Laffy Taffy
- Tootsie Rolls and Tootsie Pops
- Lifesaver Gummies
- Whoopers (except the peanut butter variety)
- Sweet Tarts
- Sunmaid chocolate-covered raisins
- York Peppermint Patties
- Red Vines
- Jolly Ranchers
- Candy Corn (read label carefully)
Remember to always read the label carefully as not all varieties, particularly non-name brand versions can be manufactured in facilities that also manufacture nut products.
You will likely have to spend a bit more time in the candy aisle than most people because you’ll have to read labels carefully. Luckily there are lots of options so you will be able to find several things to hand out for Halloween and to give to your child as an alternative.
Our plan this year, since Maya is still so young, is just to let her to a little trick-or-treating on our street and just keep what is safe. She doesn’t need a lot of candy, so I figure what she is left with should work out just fine. Once she is older I plan on doing the exchange with her by taking what isn’t safe and replacing it with something that is.
What tricks do you use to keep your nut allergy child safe on Halloween?