Halloween is almost here! We asked our Nima community members to share their positive (and negative) stories and any advice they might have for anyone trying to celebrate an allergy-friendly Halloween.
We opened up these questions to the whole Nima community, so here’s a quick breakdown of the kinds of foods these community members are avoiding:
What is the biggest challenge you face during Halloween?
• Cross contamination
• Lack of confidence
• Unmarked candy / lack of labeling
• Finding safe candy for my kids
• Cross contamination
“Most Halloween candy has peanuts as an ingredient or has cross contamination”
“Hidden gluten in ingredients or processed in a facility that also processes wheat”
Have you had any bad experiences during Halloween?
“Yes, I ate M&Ms that were only labeled as having dairy and soy and had a bad reaction.”
“Yes, hard to question my colleagues about whether their home made gluten-free efforts really are gluten-free. Feel bad when they really try and I still can’t eat it.”
“No, we error on the side of caution.”
“No, our trick or treat candy ends up at work for people without food restrictions and I buy safe candy for our house.”
Have you had any good experiences during Halloween?
“Yes many neighbors know he has Peanut allergy so they all have a special treat set aside for him or a peanut free bar.”
“People going out of their way to get certified GF products (like Justin’s pb cups).”
“Yes. Many turquoise pumpkins in our neighborhood.”
“Yes, many people tend to have candy that is safe to eat like skittles.”
“Neighbors who pass out bubbles and coloring books instead of candy.”
“Enjoy Life made mini treats for Halloween!”
What are some of the things you do to keep yourself (or your kids) safe during Halloween?
“Wear gloves, remove all peanut type treats and toss any that we are unsure of and never eat the homemade treats.”
“Careful checking of labels and Nima checks.”
“Separate bowls of candy – gluten free in one, but free in another.”
“We have a detailed conversation with our son about what to expect and that he will encounter candies that he will not be able to get and that we may not be able to get anything at all. My son than knows what to expect and it becomes much easier for him to handle. We also tell him that we will purchase him whatever candy he didn’t get so that he does not feel left out.”
“Enforcing a strict do not eat policy until mom can check safety.”
“I buy my daughter a toy that she gets to trade her candy in for at the end of the night. This way she ends up with something she will enjoy but hasn’t missed out on the experience of trick or treating.”
“Look for teal Pumpkin signs.”
Any other Halloween tips for other folks with special diets?
“Just be safe and always make sure your child knows not to eat any treats until parents have gone through them for safety.”
“Find some fun treats for yourself ahead of time that you know are safe so you can confidently join in the fun even if you cannot be sure about what you will find at a party or trick or treating, etc.”
“Encourage friends and neighbors to have a teal Pumpkin for special treats for allergy kids.”
“Look for local events held by your local Allergy community for special events that are Allergy safe. A book called trick or trade exists that talks about Halloween that addresses all allergies that helps your child understand. Also we have attempted to make Halloween more about the spirt of the holiday through costumes, decorating, movies, and fun not about getting candy.”
“If your near a Disney Park their Trick or Treat Party is really fun and caters to peanut allergies.”
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A special thank you to our Nima community for sharing their stories and advice with us! You can check out more community stories here.
*Responses have been edited for length and clarity.