With hours away from the start of Halloween- here is a last-minute guide in order to help families who have children with food allergies navigate this fun-filled time safely and stress-free.
Halloween is a holiday focused on the children- and with children who face the challenges of having a food allergy every day, it is a holiday that has special importance them and can have a long term impact on their emotional well-being. Halloween is all about the costumes- and it provides a child with the chance to blend in and be a part of the crowd- it is a chance when someone who lives with a difference or a challenge all year round can put that aside and join in with everyone else. This is why helping our food-allergy child through the day is especially important when it comes to Halloween
Of course, as with all good holidays- food is part and parcel of the traditions of the day, but thankfully Halloween is not all about the treats [and there are ways to handle that element too ;)] , so every child can have a chance to be one of the crowd.
Costumes are synonymous with Halloween and thankfully easily manageable when dealing with a child with food allergies. Just be wary of the face make-up you are putting on your child. The easiest solution is ,of course, a mask (bearing in mind latex allergies if that concerns you) however these can be hot and uncomfortable especially with children so face-paint is generally the preferred way to go. The main issues with make-up and face-paint are that FDA has different regulations with regards to these products and don’t consider them food items, which means that there are no required labelling laws (yet) in regards to allergens like there are with food items. This can make it seemingly impossible to navigate especially since many facial make-ups contain one of the top 8 allergens such as peanut oils as well as coconut oils.
Your best bet is to use a known safe make-up option or a company that is known to be allergy-safe although there aren’t that many around Kissfreely is one good option that you should consider. As a last resort (don’t scream) is to use colourful markers that are safe for you child- maybe not for the whole face, but as an option for a moustache or patch etc.
The trickiest part of the day- hands down is trick-or-treating. By don’t worry, there are a variety of options besides from going out with your child and acting as a chaperon and hopefully one be suitable for your situation. The older your child becomes the more independence they will require and Halloween is a good as time as any to help them along this part of their food allergy journey. As the parent, only you know both your comfort level and the trust you can have in your child so bear that in mind as you decide which route you will take this year.
If your child would like to go along with a group of friends, consider speaking to your neighbours before Halloween explaining their allergies and offer to supply them with either allergy-safe treats or non-edibles to be given when your child comes to the door (see below for our awesome selection designed to make this part of the day- quick and painless)
The other option is to have a discussion with your child where they agree to go around with their friends, but that they won’t eat anything until they come home and get it checked through- or the Switch Witch pays your house a visit- (see below) In order for your child to be safe going around alone, they should also be skilled at politely turning down any home-baked items that may be offered to them and are aware they can never share another child’s food without your approval. It might be a good idea for you to send along a snack bag with your child to munch on as they go around trick-or-treating. For older children, it is also important to discuss an emergency plan in the case of accidental exposure.
When making your own Halloween treats-the fitcookie is a great resource to find allergy-safe and more importantly easy to make Halloween treats that you can still have time to whip up today! For your pumpkin of treats to hand out see the image (side-bar) for a whole array of treats that are free from the Top 8 allergens.
Caution: Be aware of ‘fun size’ candy which may contain different ingredients than its regular-sized options
You can always steer clear of the food element in trick or treating- so check out this amazing list for around a dollar:
If you feel your child will still feel like they are missing out this Halloween- focus on no-food fun ideas, such as;
Ever heard of the Switch Witch?
If you’re new to food allergies consider introducing your family to the Switch Witch. Who is she- she is a good witch that comes at night and switches all the treats that your child is allergic to for cool toys or safe treats. For more information click on the resource link below.
During our recent visit to Israel, we really struggled to find food for our son who has anaphylactic level allergies to egg and sesame. We approached both restaurants and hotels and were told they were unable or unwilling to take responsibility for preparing his food.
After learning about Dr. Eliana on-line, we contacted her in the hopes that she could provide a ‘normal’ restaurant experience for our family.
Both she and Shani were meticulous in their preparations with the restaurants to ensure that our son had a wonderful and safe experience.
We truly appreciate their efforts to take care of our son, and to provide us with a lovely vacation experience.
T.M., Chicago, USA
We want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the amazing gift you have given us over this Pesach- the gift of having you with us!!!!
We have NEVER felt more comfortable, calm, and at ease than we did these past 10 days. Your warmth, professionalism, kindness, and care shown through in all that you did.
My children are so grateful that they were able to be with you this Pesach. You made sure that they were so well looked after and they felt so at ease and comfortable with you! You were so amazing and approachable to them! And they LOVED all the food you so amazingly prepared (supervised allergy-free food preparation, managed menus) for them!
It’s very difficult for us to trust people when it comes to our kids and allergies. You magically were able to take away ALL of our anxieties, and nervousness (and we don’t give that away so easily!!)
We can never fully thank you enough. We truly feel that you instantly became part of our family and we look forward to G-d willing being able to be with you and plan amazing trips with you many many many more times!!!!
Thank you and may Hashem bless you for the work you do. My son Jacob said your allergy card has been very helpful. I am so grateful- beyond words.
L.R., NY, NY
Thank you for delivering our allergy free baked goods to our hotel. We just tasted the focaccia and it was delicious!
All the best,
S.C., New Jersey
We can't thank you enough for assembling this top-notch team of specialists to work with our daughter while she is in Israel.
T.G., Philadelphia, PA
"Food Allergy Concierge assisted us with a very helpful, detailed customized allergy card in Hebrew. The Allergy card was extremely helpful for multiple allergies and allowed us to eat safely in several eateries and hotels. Highly recommended.”
G.A. Illinois USA