For most kids, Halloween is a fun time to dress up as their favorite superheroes or characters, walk around in their neighborhood, and perhaps best of all: get candy shoved into their pillowcases and plastic pumpkins. My favorite memories of Halloween include coming home, dumping out my candy on the floor, and seeing my "lot" as "what can I trade with my friends at school tomorrow so that I have ALL Reeses Peanut Butter Cups?" Is it a weird American thing? Probably. 

My Halloween was admittedly a different reality than what many kids with allergies and food intolerances experience on a regular basis, Most conventional Halloween candies are produced in facilities that also process tree nuts, peanuts, milk, and soy: some of the top major allergens. One contact with an open pack of Almond Joys could send someone with anaphylaxis to the hospital. Besides the potential of negative food interactions, kids with allergies and dietary intolerances may experience some emotional turmoil on Halloween because of all the experiences they don't get to have; some parents might even consider keeping their kids in this Halloween to avoid disappointing them.

Luckily, there are some ways we can be inclusive this Halloween and offer safe options for kids with allergies or food intolerances. Here are some of the offerings you can have at your doorstep to ensure all kids have a safe, happy, and healthy Halloween:

Use a teal pumpkin to signify "safe" allergen-friendly offerings and an orange pumpkin to signify typical Halloween offerings. 

The teal pumpkin signifies allergen-safe offerings for families. The project started in 2014 and aims to educate the public about allergies, risk factors, and how we can ensure safety for all individuals with food allergies.

Consider offering non-food options for all kids. 

Normalizing non-food options on Halloween is a great way to be inclusive towards all the folks who come to your doorstep. As a kid, I remember my neighbors would make little goodie bags with Halloween pencils, erasers, notebooks, and stickers for all of her visitors. You can purchase many of these at a local Dollar Store. 

Purchase allergen-friendly products and double-check the label before putting it out. 

Dum Dum lollipops, Enjoy Life products, and Made Good granola bars are three brands made in facilities free of the eight major allergens. You can see a complete list here. If possible, purchase snacks that have an ingredient label on them so that parents can check them for ingredients before their kids dig in. 

Understand that parents may still be hesitant to accept food offerings during Halloween. 

Parents of children with allergies often experience surmounting anxiety over holidays like Halloween. In our culture, allergies and dietary accommodations aren't often made explicit in public information. We may not know that giving a child a bar of chocolate may be a matter of life-and-death for them. However, with increasing public information about allergies, we can hopefully make a more inclusive holiday experience for all.