If you ask me, our family’s biggest risk on Halloween is that our son Jack trips over whatever costume my wife made for him while he runs from house to house.
If you ask Jack, he’d probably say his biggest risk is that we run into friends and stop for a laugh or beer, slowing down his trick or treating.
My wife believes we have two big dangers — that not enough kids come to our door, since I insist on getting a huge supply of candy. And, that I’ll embarrass her with a crazy costume when we go to adult Halloween parties.
Those are our Halloween risks.
How lucky for us.
My cousin Lianne told me about the Halloween risk for kids with food allergies. There’s candy everywhere, and you have to make sure your child doesn’t accidentally eat the wrong kind. Eating it could lead to serious illness or in some cases death.
That’s an enormous risk.
That also got me thinking about how disappointing Halloween could be for a child with a food allergy. Every kid in your class is going trick or treating. There’s even a Halloween parade at school. So, your parents will take you out for Halloween, but if you trick or treat you can keep barely anything you get.
If our son had a food allergy, we’d probably take him trick or treating but go through his candy carefully and take away the 85% he couldn’t eat. He’d probably be used to that. After all, every day we’d be telling him what he couldn’t eat at class snack time, at little league games, when going to birthday parties. I think he’d learn to appreciate our caution, as it would potentially save his life, and he’d learn to be careful.
I’m sure parents of allergic kids have a stash of safe candy to give to their own kids and they create their own Halloween fun, but I love the idea of helping to make Halloween more fun for kids with food allergies. If it was my son, I would be enormously grateful that someone thought about him. It would probably even make me tear up.
That’s why I’m excited about the teal pumpkin project.
I learned from Lianne that a teal pumpkin outside a house lets parents of food allergic kids know that your house has something safe for kids with food allergies. (More below, but something safe is as simple as stickers or vampire teeth.) Launched in 2014, the Teal Pumpkin Project had participants in every US state and in 7 countries last year. Great for the 1 in 13 kids who have a food allergy (and their parents).
Pumpkin painting will be fun and a great way to have a discussion with Jack about empathy and compassion. Plus, we’ll feel great if a small kindness like this helps a kid have more Halloween fun.
A teal pumpkin (real or computer printout) or a sign indicates you have something safe for kids with allergies. Or, you can just let trick or treaters know when they come to your house.
You can register your house with the organization’s crowd sourced map, which allows parents of kids with food allergies to see and plan to include as many allergy safe houses as possible on their route.
You can still give out candy as well as toys (we plan to do so). You can ask kids if they have allergies, have a sign or offer kids a choice of a toy or candy. A nice thing about offering the choice to the kids / parents is that the kid can make a choice without having to announce he has food allergies.
Suggested give aways: plastic spider rings, eyeball erasers, stickers, small toys, glow sticks, vampire teeth, bouncy balls.
This isn’t for everyone, but I thought it was pretty neat and wanted to share.
And, by the way, if you have extra candy, you can donate your candy to heroes.
And here are 25 Ideas for Raising Kind and Grateful Kids.