Trick-or-Treating Tips: It’s Not Just About the Candy

A guest blog post by Teen Advisory Group member Rachel Blum.

Hi, my name is Rachel Blum and I am a 16-year-old living in Deerfield, Illinois. I have a severe food allergy to peanuts and tree nuts, and I was diagnosed when I was about 7 years old. This blog post is about enjoying Halloween with food allergies.

Living any day with food allergies is hard enough, let alone spending a day dedicated to eating all the candy you can eat. I know firsthand the struggle of spending Halloween with food allergies. As a kid I was always upset when I would get to a house that did not have candy I could eat. I would take the candy anyway and give it to one of my friends. They of course were very appreciative, but it always made me very upset. I wondered why it had to be me that couldn't eat that specific candy.

Now, after having been trick-or-treating for 16 years of my life, I am here to tell you that it is really not as bad as you may think in the moment. One thing I always keep in mind is that at home my parents have candy that is safe for me to eat. Therefore, even if I collect less candy then my friends, I know that I have so much candy to look forward to at home! Also, remember that Halloween is not solely about trick-or-treating. It is also about having fun dressing up with your friends. Try to focus more on the experience and less on the food. I know that it's easier said than done, but if you try your best to think in this mindset you will be able to enjoy this super fun holiday even more.

If you are a parent with a child with allergies, I would recommend giving your child some treats to put in their trick-or-treating bag to start out, so that when their friends start accumulating more, your kid will not be as affected. My mom did this for me and my brother, and it totally took our minds off of the fact that we had less.

If you are a child reading this, remember that Halloween is supposed to be fun and that it is not all about the candy. Don't waste your one night in which you get to walk around your town in a fun costume with all of your friends. Enjoy the small moments, and know that when you go back home, you have so much candy waiting for you!

We thank Rachel for sharing these tips for kids and parents alike. Another way to make Halloween more about the fun is by participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project:

  • Make a separate bowl of non-food treats part of your Halloween preparation. You can also give out candy, too, if you like!
  • Put a teal pumpkin on your doorstep (or a printed sign on your door).
  • Visit the Teal Pumpkin Project map to add your address and find participating households nearby.
  • Enjoy the costumes and the stress-free smiles from sharing food-free trinkets and treasures with children who have food allergies and other medical dietary restrictions. Happy Halloween!