Allergy Mums / Support for families with allergies

publication date: Oct 16, 2014

Halloween Hell Here We Come…

I loved Halloween as a kid. In Canada it’s a big deal. Parents and kids dress up, houses are decorated and the streets are overflowing with kids dressed up. Here it’s a more modest affair with some taking part, but lots dismissing it as a North American import. As an adult I like it too; something to do with making fun of those ghosts and goblins that haunt our dark dreams. It’s like blowing a giant raspberry at everything frightening and supernatural. But here’s the rub. Molly isn’t just allergic to milk, making chocolate an issue, but also has to be low sugar and fat too (reflux). So even Haribo’s are an issue. We have to limit. Severely. How does all this stack up with going around collecting endless sweets she can’t eat, and hanging out with her mates while they inhale them?

In the US there has been an initiative by the Food Allergy Research & Education organisation called ‘The Teal Pumpkin Project’. The idea is that people put a teal coloured pumpkin (or leaflet) in their window to indicate that they have non-food treats available. A much safer option especially for those with serious nut allergies or life-threatening allergies. So much nicer to parents then wading through endless sweets and getting rid of the ones with nuts, or having to make sure their little one doesn’t touch a chocolate that has a nut in it. The campaign seems to be taking off; with press coverage and an effective Facebook campaign up and running.  It would be great if more people did this; and I’m certainly going to have some non-food treats to go with our usual selection of stuff.

We will continue to do our normal ‘allergy dance’ here. This is our allergy ‘survival guide’ to getting through Halloween without tears:

  • I buy Haribo’s. Stuff my pockets with some, and a long lasting lollipop. As Molly collects sweets she can’t eat I swop them out for things she can have. Her father, now a true Halloween convert, scoffs all the chocolate she gets.


  • She will get to have a few sweets (small ones) as we go around but also has other snacks so she’s eating as her friends eat their body weight in chocolate. I go for something she loves so she’s enjoying eating


  • She gets to give away sweets she can’t have to her friends. This makes her a very popular person on Halloween night. Surprising the number of invites we get…


  • The next day she gets to decide – keep the sweets and eat them SLOWLY (I hide them in the cupboard and start chucking them out after a couple of weeks when she’s forgotten about them) or she can give them all away and I take her shopping for a small toy/book etc. Getting a ‘Halloween’ present really works for Molly. We do the same at Easter. The main issues is controlling the size of the requested present. This isn’t Christmas after all!


This works for us pretty well. Of course it’s hard not to be able to eat sweets. But Molly has to learn to take part in whatever way she can, whatever way works for her, whatever way keeps her healthy and safe. Do I wish we could just relax and have fun like everyone else? You bet. But that isn’t going to happen so we have to find a way, and for us, this works.

Enjoy Trick or Treating this year!

Here is the link for the Teal Pumpkin Project.

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