Trick or Treating can be a scary time of the year for many children with food allergies. Not only that but many children, like my own, are tube fed and don’t eat candy, they want to enjoy Halloween too! Halloween is one holiday that we have to make special arrangements for the children who have special needs. And we have a few ideas about what you can do to help!
I have seen two campaigns to make accommodations for ghosts and goblins with special needs. One is from the Food Allergy Research & Education and it’s called the Teal Pumpkin Project. It’s gaining traction too! According to this article, “Food Allergy Research & Education’s first Facebook post about the Teal Pumpkin Project, reached 2.7 million people in less than 72 hours, the organization reported. Posts about the project have been shared a combined 31,000 times. This year marks the first time the idea has been promoted nationally.”
The campaign asks everyone who has a non-food item that they are giving away to paint a pumpkin teal and place it where it is visible to everyone on Halloween Eve! Great idea! Honestly, I think the most difficult thing with this is actually going out to buy the teal paint, if only it were something everyone had handy!
The other, aimed for being welcoming for all children with special needs, including allergies and tubies, is the Mommies of Miracles decal and registration of cooperating houses. This is the first year that this group has started this campaign and it’s taking a bit of time to get traction but if they keep it up, they will likely have the same results as the Teal Pumpkin campaign, you never know, maybe even better.
They ask that you print their decal and make sure it’s where trick or treaters can see it. For non-verbal children they have a printable ‘badge’ that prints on Avery labels to place on your child’s costume. More details can be found on their web page.
(Mommies of Miracles is a HUGE and GREAT source of support for special needs families, you can find them here.)
If you choose not to participate in these programs, you can still do a few things to make your home welcome to trick or treaters with special needs.
The biggest! Have non-food items available. From plastic teeth to fun stickers there are quite a number of items available for you to purchase quite inexpensively. You can shop through Oriental Trading Company for different ideas and prize packs. Didn’t see this in time? Don’t worry, Amazon has options available and their shipping options are great especially if you have Prime. They are actually very competitively priced as well!
Here are 15 options from the mom of a diabetic child.
I picked up these from Amazon, Monster Temporary Tattoos. Fun right? I have a few of my own monsters who will be happy to use up all the “left-overs”!
Another tip is to make sure to have your treats ready for children who may not be able to navigate steps, sometime this means not at your front door. I think we will set our home base in the garage this year because we do have a couple of children in our neighborhood who have wheelchairs.
I consulted with their mom, if you see some pirates and princesses located at the bottom of your stairs on wheels the super nice thing to do is to take your bucket to the child, especially if you’re a giver that lets the kids choose their treat! She noted that she is seeing more and more people do this for her kids and was really happy about it.
If you don’t want to purchase non-edible items to give away it might be a good idea to separate the allergy-free candy from the rest because, for a lot of children, it only takes exposure to a very small amount to trigger a scary reaction!
Consider a non-food treat for class parties and hand-outs as well.
Please think of our very special Trick-or-Treaters this year! Have another idea or a helpful tip I didn’t mention? Share it here!
Image courtesy of hin255 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net