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Halloween and Peanut Allergies

Our daughter, who is almost two, went trick-or-treating for the first time this year. She's allergic to peanuts, and after she went to bed we ended up discarding about 80% of the candy in her bag. Some of it was obvious: Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (which I love and used to give out myself!), peanut M&Ms, etc. Other stuff we got rid of due to the almost-ubiquitous "may contain traces" warnings. That left a package of Skittles, a Mounds bar, a lollipop, and a tangerine. We replaced the missing candy with leftovers from the treats we gave out.

Does anybody have advice on dealing with this problem? This year, she is too young to realize that we tampered with her bag, but next year I doubt we'll be so lucky.

The whole thing made me sad -- and retroactively guilty for having given out PB cups in the past.

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  1. I'm highly allergic myself, and yeah it sucks but you just learn to deal. I think it's great that you replaced her stuff with things she can eat. My advice to you is as soon as she's old enough start involving her in the whole process of identifying what things she can and cannot eat. It takes some creativity sometimes to get around the stuff I can't have, but I've been doing it for as long as I can remember, and now it's second nature of course. I've never felt bad about it - it's just part of life. She sounds lucky to have parents who are so concerned :)

    1 Reply
    1. re: enbell

      Exactly. Get her involved asap. My granddaughter is 10 and has the same life threatening allergies and, by the time she was 5, she knew what questions to ask the server in restaurants.

    2. As she gets older and goes out with other friends perhaps she could do some trading as well?

      I'm glad i read this post because peanut allergies ARE getting more prevalent (as can be seen at my child's preschool) and it's nice to be sensitive to it for when we give out treats for next halloween.

      2 Replies
      1. re: fudisgud

        They are indeed really growing in prevalance. My Mom has only given out nut-free/safe treats since my nephew was diagnosed with his nut allergy as a baby.

        (edited to add that I mention my Mom because I have lived in apartments my whole life and we don't have trick-or-treating, but if we did, I'd buy nut-free products as well)

        1. re: rockandroller1

          Still, it's only about 1% prevalance. Which is a big increase over a generation ago. Still the absolute numbers are small.

      2. My nephew is nut-allergic too. FYI, I don't think the Mounds is safe, I don't think any of those candies are safe because they are produced in plants with other nut products - look at Almond Joy and Mounds, for example.

        My sister goes with him and they explain they are collecting the candy for charity and she holds the container. Often she will explain if someone tries to directly hand him the candy that he is nut allergic. They still get the dressing up and trick-or-treat experience. Then they deliver it to the charity the next day. They buy him his own nut-free treat for spearheading an altruistic task. As a result, he is now 11 and altruism comes naturally to him, without someone leading him to it. I think this is a win-win way to handle it.

        1. My cousin has a severe peanut allergy. This company is a great resource for nut-free candies -- they do novelty candy for all occasions. It's really important to involve your daughter in the process of finding out what she can and can;t eat, as one of the other posters says here. www.vermontnutfree.com

          1. M&M Jfood taught the kids when they were very young that after collecting candy for Halloween, most would go to less fortunate children and the last stop was to drop off the candy at a shelter or collection site. They were allowed to keep a few pieces for their enjoyment. The first few years were tough but they began to understand that they are firtunate and that they need to have a charitable heart. Likewise the end of December lead to lots of trips to shelters and homes and they now gain great pleasure in playing Secret Santa. The DNA has been turn on.

            So jfood would recommend combining the learn to give with the allergy discussion. Explain that many children are less fortunate, it is a wonderful thing to help them out and that they need to give some, most of the candy they collected to others. But you need to be careful in not telling them that the only candy they give are those they are allergic to. They will not truly learn the lesson if they are only giving the candy that would be thrown out. They need to give away some of the "keepers".

            And having allergies is not fun, jfood has a nut (but not peanut) allergy and as others have said, you just have to learn and cope.

            But in the end you have the chance to teach your children giving to others while teaching them about their allergies.

            1 Reply
            1. re: jfood

              What a great solution to this problem. Talk about turning lemons into lemonade.