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Trick or Treating

How to make Halloween treats less scary

halloween candyJust because your child is on a limited diet, it doesn't mean that they can't enjoy Halloween. Many children have health conditions that make Halloween candy dangerous. Diabetes, food allergies, and short gut syndrome are just a few examples. But candy doesn't have to be the scariest part of Halloween. Here are a few things you can do to put the treat back into your trick-or-treating.

Plan ahead: Make sure nutritional needs are met before you go so kids won't be hungry and tempted while trick-or-treating. Let them know in advance that you are collecting candy, but don't plan to eat it.

Offer a trade: Have small safe treats or toys that you can trade for forbidden candies. Stickers, pencils, play dough, books and "safe" foods make great substitutes.

Provide your own treats: Deliver "safe" trinkets and treats to the friends and neighbors you plan to visit.

Watch for teal pumpkins: A teal pumpkin on the porch is a symbol that means that the house offers non-food treats. FARE has printables and a community map on their website at

Use your imagination: The Food Allergies and Anaphylaxis Network suggests hanging candies in a tree overnight on All Hallow's Eve so the "good witch" can trade the treats for toys. Or perform some "magicM of your own. Buy two identical trick or treat bucket or bag, fill one with non-food or approved food treats and send the other trick-or-treating. Put both in a box, wave your wand and presto! a bag of safe goodies.

Make it a game: Award point values to different types of candy. After trick or treating, count up the points. 1 point for tootsie rolls, 2 suckers, 5 for candy bars, etc. Let your kids use their "points" to "buy" stickers, pencils, and other trinkets.

Give it away: Know a friend or family member who's allowed candy but can't go out? Consider collecting on their behalf. Some churches, homeless shelters and even dentists accept Halloween candy to share with those in need.

Trick-or-treat for a cause: Rather than collecting candy, collect coins for charity. UNICEF has trick-or-treat boxes in Toys R Us stores or printable make your own boxes on their website at The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network also has an annual trick or treat campaign. Visit to learn more.

Stay well rounded: Remember that you can celebrate the holiday without overly focusing on food. Costumes, haunted houses, pumpkin carving and hay rides are all a part of Halloween that don't involve food. The most important thing is that you enjoy your time as a family.

Have a Happy Halloween!

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