When there are multiple food allergies in the family…..how does one survive Hallowe’en?
I had to really think back to when Michael first started going Trick or Treating. I think we first took him out when he was 2 years old. My mom made him a Winnie the Pooh costume. He looked so cute!
At this time in his life, he suffered from Atopic Dermatitis, food sensitivities (we kept him away from red food colouring, artificial flavouring and sulphites) and food allergies (dairy, egg, beef, sesame, peanut/tree nut, fish, shellfish, raspberries with corn, soy and wheat in the early years).
Needless to say… navigating Hallowe’en was ‘tricky’.
Our solution: I discovered Maple Sugar Candy.
I would give a few to my neighbourhood friends for them to give to Michael when he came Trick or Treating. He would be so excited! He didn’t care about the ‘other stuff’ in his bag because he had never had it. He would be quite content with his sweet treats.
Matthew grew up in a house that was Peanut/Tree Nut and candy free. When he was in Nursery School, he was offered a candy as a Hallowe’en treat. He innocently looked up and exclaimed, “I can’t eat that….I’m allergic.” Of course, the staff were alarmed. I had to explain that he must hear what we say to Michael, and assumed he was the same.
I believe the first ‘real candy’ Michael tried were Rockets. Every year at Hallowe’en, when the bags of Rockets were sold, I would purchase a bag or two to last throughout the year.Rockets are still one his favourite candies.
Second solution: Hand out Maple Sugar Candy and Rockets to neighbourhood friends to give Michael.
Eventually, Matthew was diagnosed with a Peanut/Tree Nut allergy. His candy of choice…chocolate bars. Thankfully, Kit Kat’s, Smarties, Coffee Crisps and Aero Bars were his favourite. Makes sense when I think back on it: they are all Peanut/Tree Nut Free.
Matthew also never liked the baked goods from bakeries that would come into the school for birthday parties. I wish I had listened more closely. I do remember telling him he didn’t have to eat them….you know he didn’t.
Thank goodness … as you know it was a cake from a bakery that he had his first allergic reaction to.
Third solution: Hand out Maple Sugar Candy, Rockets and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Bar that Matthew liked at the time, to neighbourhood friends, to give to Michael and Matthew.
As the years past, Michael and Matthew’s Trick or Treating route expanded. Thus, the amount of candy that came home increased. What to do?
Fourth solution: Separate the ‘allergen safe’ candy from the rest. Give Andy the ‘unsafe’ candy as a free for all at work. Allow the boys to choose 5 ‘safe candies’. Send the rest of the ‘safe candy’ to school. Take the boys to a movie of their choice the following weekend as an extra ‘treat’. They loved that!
Often Michael would want to come home early rather than continue on Trick or Treating with his brother, friends and their father’s. He would help me hand out the candy. I would tell him how much fun it was to see all the children’s costumes that came to the door. One couldn’t appreciate them running around in the dark.
By the time Michael reached Grade 5 or 6, he chose to stay home and hand out the candy with me. I think he enjoyed the fact that he could sample his ‘safe candies’ at the same time!
Researching ‘safe’ candies, I came upon Yummy Earth lollipops and candy drops. They were created by two father’s who wanted their children to enjoy candies that were free of chemical colours, artificial flavours, and high fructose corn syrup. Their candies are also free of gluten, peanut/tree nuts and are kosher parve.
Always read the ingredient list in case of any changes.
Yummy Earth candies are truly delicious! Pomegranate Pucker is everyone’s favourite!
Surf Sweets is another candy company that we love. Their gummies and jelly beans are free of trans fats, GMO’s, corn syrup, gluten, artificial colours and flavours. Their candy is produced in a peanut-free facility that if free of these other common allergens: wheat, dairy, soy, eggs, tree nuts, shellfish and fish.
Always read the ingredient list in case of any changes.
Michael and Matthew love their Gummy Bears and Gummy Worms!
This Hallowe’en will be Matthew’s last year for Trick or Treating. The boys will have to learn to share the handing out of the candy…if they are at all still interested.
I know both boys will still be interested in checking out our neighbour’s ‘Haunted House’.
Every year, our neighbour assembles elaborate devices to scare the Trick or Treater’s on their walk up to his door. There’s the creepy coffiin opening and closing, the wicked witch swooping across the air, the ghostly ghoul drifting back and forth and the eerie music filling the air.
The allergy community seems more prepared for Hallowe’en than in the past. Anaphylaxis Canada is hosting a special Hallowe’en Party and Fundraising Dance-a-thon for children with food allergies. Proceeds going to Anaphylaxis Canada.
How much fun would that be! Unfortunately, I think my boys are a bit too old for it.
Fifth solution: Perhaps, as a final solution, we will have to come up with our own ‘Spooktacular Party’.
The boys and I hosted a Pre-Hallowe’en Party to thank our neighbourhood taste testers.
Tip : MacMillan’s sells Maple Sugar Candies year round. At Christmas they are in the shape of Santa Claus and at Easter they have Easter Bunnies.
P.S. I will be posting specifics on our Pre-Hallowe’en Party throughout the week. It will include Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Cupcakes with Dairy Free Vanilla Icing, Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Sandwich Cookies, Ghost Sugar Cookies on a stick, Dairy Free Caramel Corn, Roasted Pumpkin and Squash Seeds and goodies.
Always CHECK INGREDIENTS each time you purchase products.