With the arrival of Halloween, here’s a reminder that a bag of Halloween candy isn’t all treats for the one in 13 children who suffer from food allergies. Kelly Williamson, founder of the advocacy group Food Allergy of Iowa, says there are eight common food allergies, but when it comes to candy, the main concern is around those that contain nuts.
“Or things that are processed in a plant that processes the chocolate with peanuts or almonds, that sort of thing,” she adds. “So pretty much all of your chocolate candy bars are out for kids that are allergic to peanuts and tree nuts.”
To make trick-or-treating more inclusive for children with allergies, an option is to have some non-food items, such as stickers, pencils or little toys, to hand out. Those families taking part are asked to put out a pumpkin that’s painted teal, indicating the house is allergy-safe.
Williamson says she hopes this Teal Pumpkin Project will help make the holiday more fun for children with allergies who generally come home with a bag full of treats they can’t eat. “Usually end up with four or five little pieces that they can have and sometimes they just feel left out of holidays in general because eating is a big part of holidays,” she stresses. “So I think that it makes sense to offer an alternative.”
Because of the risks, it’s also suggested that children with food allergies don’t eat any candy while out trick-or-treating, but wait until they’ve returned home and have had the goodies inspected by their parents.
(Iowa News Service)