Halloween can be a scary time for people with food allergies. Here are some simple steps to limit the holiday’s scariness to the costumes and decorations!
The best way to manage food allergies for trick-or-treaters is to offer small non-food items such as glow in the dark bracelets, spider rings, or small bottles of water (trick or treating is thirsty business!). I usually just add these to the candy bowl so that the children don’t have to ask and to allow children who don’t have food allergies to choose a non-food treat. If you know a neighborhood child has an allergy and you want to offer candy, find candy that is specifically labeled to not contain that allergen (such as peanut–free or gluten free). Keep the bag that the candy came in so that the parents can feel comfortable with their child enjoying the treat.
With careful planning, you can host a safe and fun party! Here are my top hacks for hosting parties with friends and family with allergies.
- Request in the invitation or ask in advance if there are food allergies
- When preparing food for your party, check each ingredient rather than assuming the food is safe
- Be careful to ensure that no cross-contamination occurs
- Use different cutting boards and knives to prepare allergen ingredients and dishes from allergen-free recipes
- Consider preparing allergy-friendly foods at a different time to cut down on cross-contamination risk if you have a guest with severe allergies
- Place a serving utensil in each dish
- When serving food, serve the foods free of the allergen on another table if possible, and if not, ask guests with food allergies to serve themselves first
- If you are hosting a potluck
- Ask guests to avoid bringing foods with the allergen
- Ask guests to bring an ingredient list for their recipe or label the foods that are without an allergen accordingly as gluten free or nut free
While it is possible to be allergic to any food, the most common food allergens are milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, soy, and sesame. With some ingredient modifications, even your favorite Halloween recipes can be allergen-free and delicious. Try an all-purpose gluten-free flour, a vegan “butter,” or egg substitute for baking. Use canola or avocado oil instead of vegetable oil (typically contains soy), and sunflower butter may work for your recipe in place of peanut butter.
Would you like specific, allergen-free product or recipe recommendations? Email firstname.lastname@example.org. We are happy to help!