I have been very fortunate - neither of my boys has any food allergies. Both of them wish they were allergic to brussel sprouts, but no such luck.
One of my older son's best friends, however, has a life threatening peanut allergy. M carries an epipen with him wherever he goes, and when he was younger and came to spend the night, I always made sure I knew exactly where it was.
The first year M went trick or treating with my son, he couldn't eat 90% of the candy they collected. As everyone spread their loot on the floor, counting chocolate bars and making trades, M poked through his bag, looking for the few pieces of hard candy that he could eat. It made me really sad.
The next Halloween, I decided to give out small toys instead of candy. I went to the dollar store and bought spider rings, stickers, bouncy balls and colorful pencils. My "treats" were a hit with the neighborhood kids, and I have continued the tradition.
So I was excited to read recently about the Teal Pumpkin Project, where people are encouraged to place a teal colored pumpkin on their porch to show that they offer non food items to trick or treaters. The Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) website also has a flyer you can download to place by your front door.
When I was little I didn't know anyone who had serious allergies. But today, one in thirteen children has food allergies, and there has been a significant increase in life threatening allergies in the last ten years.
If you'd like to participate, paint a teal pumpkin or download a flyer from FARE. Dollar stores or websites like Oriental Trading Company have tons of little toys that won't break the bank - some of them are even cheaper than candy!
As an added bonus - you won't have bags of candy left over, waiting for you to eat them yourself. Personally, I miss the peanut butter cups and Hershey miniatures - but the bouncy balls are fun to play with!
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