The Simple Reason You Should Give Nut-Free Candy This Halloween

For children with food allergies, Halloween can be truly terrifying

by: Alex Thom
safe trick or treating

I know there are plenty of you out there who think we should just keep my allergic kid inside this Halloween. I know it would save you the hassle of once again having to think of someone else, but here's the thing: we love Halloween and so do our kids. They love trick-or-treating, and they love gorging themselves on the bounty of sugar when they get home from their neighbourhood walk. It's a childhood rite of passage, and nope, we don't keep our anaphylactic boy at home in a protective bubble.

Sure, there are spooky scenes and creepy sounds out there on Halloween. And yup, it's dark and chilly and there will be plenty of nut-laden candies handed out. The fact is that these candies are the most horrifyingly scary part of Halloween for us, but my little guy will be out there with all the rest of the town's kids, knocking on your door and being super-proud of his Batman costume. The last thing I want my child to feel is segregated or left out thanks to his (inconvenient) allergies.

Unlike most recommendations about accommodating allergic kids at Halloween, I'm going to tell you to go ahead and hand out whatever you feel like handing out. At our house, we choose only peanut-free candies and chocolates, but what you choose is up to you. But I'm going to tell you what happens when those candies you've paid good money for come into our home.

Before my son can touch anything, we spread his candy on the table and go through it, piece by piece. We read each individual item, we read every single ingredient, and we filter through every last item in his bag. If there's something out of a package, it gets thrown away. If something isn't clearly labeled, it goes directly into the garbage. If it contains nuts of any kind, it goes directly into my husband's stomach into a pile for my husband to take to his office. This goes for my daughter's bag, too. I can tell you from experience that we throw out a lot of candy each year (not even mentioning the stuff that gets thrown away in the weeks after Halloween). The filtering process takes a couple hours because we have to be absolutely meticulous about screening everything. It sure would be a downer to have a kid die thanks to a piece of candy, right?

I was interviewed recently about our Halloween practices, and though I did make mention of alternative hand-outs, the truth is that my kids just really love the candy. And why not? They're little kids, and at no other time are they allowed to take (and eat!) candy from complete strangers.

So really, it's totally up to you what you choose to hand out on Halloween, but at least now you know where those Mr. Big and Snickers bars go.

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