Non-candy treats for kids with allergies on Halloween - The Teal Pumpkin Project
Halloween is one of the most anticipated events of the year for my kids (it's in the top three actually, after their own birthdays and Christmas). I mean, what's not to like? They get to dress up and go wild, whilst stuffing their faces with candy. My kids' ultimate aim is to eat as much candy as they can whilst the husband and I are not looking. I still haven't had the heart to pull a "Kids, I ate all of your Halloween candy" video, even though I think about it every year. However, there's one thing that I now make a point of doing.
Both my kids have a few intolerances and allergies. Their reactions to eating anything containing ingredients such as peanuts, milk, wheat and egg isn't severe so we can still join in on the fun, but even then we always check that the child who is allergic to peanuts doesn't eat a Snickers, for example. This made me think of all the families with kids who may have more severe allergic reactions and whether or not they go trick-or-treating.
Whilst it's not very well known in the UK, there is something called the Teal Pumpkin Project which started in America through FARE (Food, allergy, research & education). It's a way of helping families who live with food allergies to still be included in the crazy night where all candy and chocolate goes. This website has all the resources you'll need if you want to join in and also has a map that you can add your address to (your details won't be shared online) so that people can go to your street.
Please don't feel like it's yet another thing you have to think of and do. Parents of children who have allergies don't expect this and like me, they'll be prepared. They will have their own treats lined up to make up for whatever their kids can't have. In fact, over the years I've only had a couple of little trick-or-treaters whose parent asked for a 'non-candy treat' (and you could see how grateful they were for it!), but that, for me made it worth doing. You can paint a pumpkin in teal and display it by the door, or an easier option which is what I do, is to print and put up one of these downloadable posters by your window (I use the "Non-food treats available here" poster as I feel people get the jest of it faster than some of the other options).
I went to Poundland this morning to get some packets of sweets (and I ALWAYS chose individually wrapped chocolate and sweets, because there's nothing more gross then kids picking up something like a marshmallow where a hundred little hands have been. I'm speaking from experience... those germs spread like wild fire. The tummy bug that might follow is not worth the enticing marshmallow or tantrum from my kid when I throw it away before it reaches their mouth).
This year, for my non-treats I bought a few packets of washi tape (I found a packet containing 6 tapes each), and I also got some animal paper face masks (one packet contains 12 masks). I know I won't need a lot of non-candy treats so that's all I bought. I also choose these items because I know that if it doesn't get given away on the night, my kids will use them another day.
If you'd like to get a few non-candy treats, here are some other things I saw in Poundland:
- Packets of slime
- Squishy toys (they had some Halloween-themed ones)
(I decided not to get these as am doing a little experiment to see how much plastic I can stop myself from buying/using, and I've also heard how slime is another germ-fest toy. Sigh. The more I write, the more I realise I'm not a very fun mum).
And here are more inexpensive things you could make if you have the time (and like doing it):
- Halloween-themed bookmarks
- Halloween-themed food: Mandarin pumpkins (draw a pumpkin face on an orange) or some Boo-nanas (draw a ghost face on a banana)
- paint some Halloween-themed rocks which the kids can hide somewhere afterwards
- wrap up some popcorn
If you'd like to buy something online or at the supermarket, a few other affordable suggestions are:
- temporary tattoos
- juice boxes
- cookie cutters
- play dough
- vegetable or flower seeds to plant
Like the Teal Pumpkin Project on Facebook to find out more or head to their website.