October 30, 2013

Halloween: Probably the Worst Time of Year to have a Peanut Allergy

Eleven years ago, the Princess toddled home with her first bag of neighborhood Trick or Treat candy. She was two and a half and we walked her, slowly, to a dozen or so houses around our neighborhood. She was the cutest little thing.

The neighbors were all so taken with her. When we got home, we dumped out her candy for inspection. Not only were Big Daddy and I participating in the time honored “checking your candy for needles!” tradition, but we were also removing any unsafe candy from the Princess’s bag. And, let me tell you, it was a lot. We had a great neighborhood that realized most kids want chocolate with peanuts.

The Princess looked at the growing the pile of candy we weren’t going to allow her to have and she started to cry. That candy was hard earned and she didn’t understand why she had been given it only to have it be taken away. Of course, Big Daddy and I had Princess safe treats on hand to trade her with, but having to have half of her candy removed sucked a lot of the fun out of the process and she was only two. The dance continued on over the years with the Princess standing over our shoulders with baited breath as she waited to see how much candy she’d get to swap.

“What about this one?”, she’d hold up something hopefully. We’d inspect the package,but without labeling information or a company name, we’d have to take the candy away, no matter how innocent it seemed. The most unexpected things can be cross contaminated. For many years, the ubiquitous Dumdum sucker was off limits because they, too, were cross contaminated.*

For years, we swapped ghiradelli chocolate for the Princess’s teeny snickers bars.** Big Daddy would cry a little and clutch his wallet as we spent ten dollars to swap out about two dollars, max, in mini chocolate bars.

This year, we’re lucky. No more swaps. The Princess will trade away the actual peanut candy (she doesn’t like the taste) but no more scouring the Internet to find out if the piece of candy the Princess hoped to eat the most out of her bag, that had no name or labeling on the package, would be safe for her to eat. Now, she can eat it all.

Would you consider passing out the following candy on Halloween? It’s peanut/tree nut free and kids like the Princess would love to not have to trade off or throw away their hard earned candy, particularly if they had to trudge through the rain or snow to get it.

Peanut/Tree Nut free Halloween Candy Suggestions

  • Skittles
  • Starburst
  • Sixlets
  • York Peppermint Patties
  • Twizzlers
  • Pop Rocks
  • Any Haribo (gummy bear) product
  • swedish fish
  • bottle caps
  • sweet tarts
  • Hershy bar-the fun size (which are about five little squares, I think) ARE peanut free.  They’re a go to chocolate for the Princess, but they’re still a no-go for tree nut allergic kids.  If you’re one of those awesome people who give out full size candy bars, plain Hershey bars are a great choice.
  • potato chips and pretzels.  I loved getting bags of chips in my halloween bag.  Most potato chips and pretzels should be tree nut and peanut safe, but always double check.

Lastly, you should absolutely buy the Halloween candy you want.  It’s not possible to accommodate every dietary need.  Sticking to candies that are labeled/stamped in any meaningful way so they can at least be googled, it helpful to parents of children with different dietary issues.

*Please note, Dumdums are now totally safe and a great gluten and peanut/tree nut free alternative and most kids really like them!

**Please note; at this time, the small chocolate squares we bought to swap candy with the Princess at Halloween are no longer peanut free and are now what we would consider cross contaminated.

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