As you can probably see, I have stopped writing lifestyle posts on my site unless it is directly related to travel. However, I feel the fire-burning-in-the-gut urge to help spread the word about this grassroots effort that started a few years back about how to have a peanut free Halloween.
Why I am writing about it now? Because a dear friend has a son with a severe peanut allergy– not to mention there is always a letter sent home at the beginning of every school year indicating a student in my child’s class has a severe nut allergy. My children all went to pre-schools that were “Nut-Free Campuses”. Corporations and companies are starting to take note about peanut allergies, and are actively participating in acknowledging how this unfortunate allergy can be horrifying for parents and deadly for children (or anyone who has a nut allergy).
The Evolution of the Peanut Allergy and Halloween
Here- I’ll make this a bit travel related so it makes sense sitting on my blog. Within the last 6 months of my travel business and in working with clients who have some sort of peanut allergy, I can share this information with you: Delta Airlines has an option to indicate if any passenger of your party has any sort of special need, dietary need or nut allergy. This person is then “asterisked” and no peanuts will be served to anyone on that plane during that flight. Have you been on a flight like that lately? I have! And, I have booked two separate families with peanut allergies on Delta and have had them “asterisked” (sounds so much nicer than Flagged 🚩 !). I do this– not because my children have peanut allergies- thank goodness none of them are allergic to anything. But I have seen the terrified look on parents faces at parties and events, the throw yourself over the table to grab that candy out of their mouth move, and the just plain, “No, my child cannot come to your child’s party because I can’t be there, and I need to make sure he watches what he eats.”
I have painstakingly planned an entire birthday party for my son to be entirely nut-free because I wanted his two
No, my kids do not have allergies, but I am a mom. And it breaks my heart when I see kids afraid to have fun at their fullest potential because one teeny tiny avoidable mistake could change their life forever.
Besides the fact that I am already the mom who would hand out toothbrushes and floss if my kids would let me (they get them in their stocking every year instead), I am also the mom who would dig through the candies at the store and research the heck out of what had nuts or were manufactured in a nut facility so I could pass them out on Halloween.
Remember– I want every kid to have fun no matter the cost of my “coolness” to my own children. Wildly enough, a few years back it wasn’t so easy to figure this out. I really had to do the research. Most of the times I would end up with Halloween themed puzzles, bubbles and stickers (boooorrrrriiiiinnnngggg), pretzels and cheese puffs, and finally one year I figured out that a brand of popcorn balls were nut free! As time has gone by, companies have become more privy to the nut-allergy epidemic and parents have become savvier in educating communities. Organizations such as the Teal Pumpkin Project have been moving with steady grace to keep up the awareness on how to have a peanut-free Halloween for all who participate.
And, here’s the thing…they have made it super easy for anyone and everyone to participate. So have the candy companies! Because like I said- I am happy to pass out non-food items, but let’s be real, I would imagine the nut-allergy kiddos want to feel like their peers and be able to collect and EAT the candy!!
How to have a PEANUT FREE Halloween:
First– Get a Teal
Again, this is super simple…you have options. If you are the crafty type: buy a pumpkin, paint it teal. If you are the parent who wants to participate but doesn’t have time to paint and carve: buy one. Yes, you can buy them! I bought mine this year for $5 at Target. A styrofoam version of a
Second– Purchase candy and items that are nut-free. I’m telling you, it is not as hard as you think. If you have already bought your candy this year, no worries, I implore you to look at your bags. I will guarantee at least 1 bag is nut-free. Unless, of course, you only buy candy bars and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. If that’s the case, just grab a bag of one of these next time you are at the supermarket (according to PeanutAllergy.com):
- Any Tootsie Pop product
- Jelly Belly
- Sour Patch Kids
- Mike and Ikes
- Haribo Gummy Candies
- Red Vines
- Double Bubble
- Dum Dums
- Jolly Ranchers
- Most Wonka Candies (Nerds, Laffy Taffy, Pixie Sticks, Runts, and Fun Dip)
See! That wasn’t too hard, right??
Third– Separate your candy into two different buckets. This will make it super easy when a ghost or goblin has a nut allergy. In fact, I like to buy a bowl that is teal
Parents whose children have nut allergies are usually pretty super savvy. They know everything! Really! They will be the first to spot if a candy has even been manufactured in a plant that processes nuts. So, if you are not sure or have more questions, reach out to that parent. They would be happy to share what they know. And, just in case, they don’t know this, which I’m sure they already do…The Teal Pumpkin Project has teal colored pumpkins for trick-or-treaters, which would be super awesome on my end as a parent who wants to make sure the right kid gets the right candy. (Target carries them!
There is way more info on the TealPumpkinProject.com website. You can even list your house on the map so kids know where to go for treats!
Have a safe and Happy Halloween!!