It’s only a few days away – the big candy day of Halloween. Many schools will be having Halloween parties and festivals this weekend in addition to trick or treating. Candy will be everywhere. Most of us know what is safe for our allergy kids, but you never know when something new to us will pop up. In a post from a week or so ago, I mentioned a friend calling about Swedish Fish. She is a seasoned allergy mom but was unsure about this candy, so she did just the right thing – she called the number on the back of the candy to make sure it was safe. So if you are not sure – call or refrain from giving it to your child.
Here is just a partial list of some safe candies without the big allergens (I’ve included the more mainstream candies, but for a full list with all the details, see surefoodsliving.com – thank you Alison for all your hard work on this list!). You may want to go to her site and print out the list for Halloween as you sort through candy. Also, buy a bag or two of your child’s favorite from the list to have ready to swap out after trick or treating. Here are some good safe ones:
Airheads – Whistle pops and Airheads Pops contain none of the top 8 allergens, the other Airheads products do contains soybean oil and wheat products, but no peanuts, nuts, eggs, or milk in any.
Sour Patch Kids – free of the top 8 allergens
Swedish Fish – free of the top 8 allergens
Sour Patch Xploderz – contains none of the top 8 but package states “Manufactured in a facility that handles peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, soy and wheat.”
Smarties – contains none of the top 8 allergens
Hershey’s – Always a good one for labeling. Here are just some of their many products:
Kit Kat – free of tree nuts, made in a facility that also processes peanuts
Twizzlers – free of tree nuts, egg, milk and peanuts; contains wheat/gluten, soy
Hershey’s chocolate bars – free of tree nuts, wheat/gluten, egg peanuts; contains milk and soy; manufactured on the same equipement that processes almonds.
Jolly Ranchers – contains none of the top 8
Jelly Belly Jelly Beans – contains none of the top 8
Mars – Many “may contain…” statements, so be careful
M&M’s plain – may contain peanuts
M&M’s Peanut – may contain almonds
3 Musketeers – May contain peanuts
Dove – free of the wheat/gluten, tree nuts, peanuts, eggs
Wonka – Pretty safe candy, esp for the peanut and tree nut crowd. Nerds and Regular Sweetarts contain none of the top 8.
Again, go to www.surefoodsliving.com for a great, thorough listing. Not a bad one to have around year round. Thanks again, Alison!
Tips to Trick or Treat Safely with Food Allergies
Your child has a food allergy and all year long you carefully monitor what he eats. He’s careful about checking labels and asking questions about food if he’s not sure. Now it’s October and one of the biggest candy holidays is right around the corner, Halloween. How can you make sure that your child has fun and at the same time is staying safe with all of the candy around? Here are some valuable tips to aid you through the holiday.
• Review with your child all of the precautions you both normally take throughout the year. With all the excitement, it may be easy for your child to forget.
• Remind teachers/room moms/friends of your child’s allergy.
• Provide safe snacks for your child if he is having a Halloween party at school or at a friend’s house.
• Make sure she knows not to eat any candy while trick or treating until she checks with you.
• You may wish to buy extra candy that your child can have and then do a “trade in” when you get home from trick or treating. Take any doubtful candy and give him the safe candy instead.
• You can order candy online from places like www.amandasown.com, www.nutfreecandy.com, www.nothinnutty.com or many other sources to find nut free, dairy free, egg free candy (good sources throughout the year as well).
• Have your child collect coins instead for a non-profit organization. It can be food allergy related like FAAN (which provides collection boxes) or anything your child feels strongly about like a local humane society, library, shelter, or any non-profit cause. Just make sure your child is able to explain where the money will go.
• Donate the candy your child receives to a local shelter, retirement home or hospital. It will help your child become see the benefits of doing something altruistic and helping others.
• Let your child give out a non food treat at school or at your house like pencils or spider rings to not only promote food allergy awareness, but also health during a sugar filled holiday.
Just make sure your child can still keep the fun of Halloween even if she can’t have the candy. She can dress up and go trick or treating with friends while still being allergy safe and enjoying the holiday at the same time. It’s important not to make your child feel different just because of a food allergy, and these are all some ideas that you can incorporate into your holiday, whether you use some or all of them.
Protecting a Child from Allergens isn’t an Easy Task
As I was walking into our elementary school right before Halloween, I was with another mom going to her child’s class as well. We were both going for “Fall Centers” as I guess they don’t like to distinguish them as Halloween parties anymore for fear of offending someone. More to the point, the other mom expressed her concern, and I think wonder, at all the children in her daughter’s class with some sort of allergy. I believe she said there were two children with peanut allergies and one with milk allergies.
She had not had the experience of allergies yet; it’s her first year at elementary school and her children don’t have allergies nor has anyone in their preschool classes. I tried to give her a basic rundown as we walked into school; of course, there wasn’t near enough time. She expressed her fear for the other children, worry over the things she had brought, concern that allergies are affecting so many things at school, a multitude of valid emotions.
Now let’s switch focus for just a minute, my non-allergic daughter just turned six last week, and there I was again, bringing treats to her class. As our school is trying to go a more healthy route, I brought a cupcake alternative – chocolate covered strawberries (maybe not so much healthier, but certainly yummy).
As I was preparing them, I went through all the allergy steps. I checked my chocolate chips for peanut traces as that is the only allergy in my daughter’s class. I noticed Nestlé’s Tollhouse chips may contain traces, while Nestlé’s white chips may have been manufactured on shared equipment. Ghirardelli’s, on the other hand, only mentioned containing milk. I was confused, and I consider this my specialty! I tried to imagine how the other mom felt!
The little boy who is allergic to peanuts in my daughter’s class is lucky to have his mom working in the school. We checked with her and she gave the OK to let him have his strawberries. Everything was fine, all the kids, including my daughter and the little boy, enjoyed their treats.
I guess my point here is that allergies are confusing! It’s hard for parents to adapt everything for all allergies. I know many children, including my other daughter, keep allergy safe treats in their classrooms for those “just in case” instances. But what about traces on tables, on hands, on clothes? Traces on doorknobs, sinks and water fountains? You can’t guard everything, so it is confusing, it is worrisome. I think the bottom line is that education and awareness are key to helping everyone, including those in the know, understand about allergies.
I won’t even go into the Kindergarten Thanksgiving feast where the food was contributed by each student…