Ah, Halloween! For many people, dressing up in costume and trick or treating is a cherished childhood memory, but for those of us who have a child with food allergies, this can also be a really scary – and not in a movie way – time of year. We asked our friends at Facebook for their favorite tips for staying safe during this season and have gathered some of the best of their ideas below, along with a few of our own:


If you have a child with a serious food allergy, this goes without saying – prepare for the worst! Cross contamination from impatient little fingers that have already touched allergens and are now pawing on candy should be expected. Remember that epipens are often not sufficient – if your child has a reaction, you need to be able to get to a hospital immediately. You will want to carry your allergy response kit on your child, as well as keeping a responsible (and trained) adult and vehicle within very close distance.

candy list

Always check for a NEW safe-candy list for each year – the list you had last year may be invalid due to changes to the companies’ facilities or ingredients. Make a list for each year, and check the candy you gather against it twice before allowing your little one to have a go at it. Make sure you get a list that has statements from the companies or is approved by an official allergen group. Click the picture for good example for 2014.

Non Candy Treats

One of the best ideas we received for preparing for food allergic guests is to prepare non-food items to hand out. While erasers and stickers are certainly appropriate, we recommend you also think creatively.
This idea, for glowsticks, from Pinterest, is both affordable, and wildly popular with everyone including safety-thinking parents and I-might-be-too-cool-for-this teens.Click the picture for more ideas from our friends at Pinterest!

safe treats

Many of our parents suggested baking up a Halloween Feast of your own and preparing a safe allergen or dye free candy bowl so that your kids have something to look forward to – and so they can swap out their unsafe candy for safe versions.
For baked goods, you can find a lot of great ideas here at betterbatter.org or you could use any recipe you want (Pinterest has great ideas) and swap out the gluten ingredients with Better Batter Mixes and allergen safe frostings and candies.
For allergen and dye free candy options, from the Natural Candy Store, click the picture.

money for candy

Amber V. takes a page from many local dentistry practices and suggests you buy the candy from your kids. She pays each of her kids $.10 per piece of candy in order to ensure that they feel they get something from their haul. You could allow them to use the money to buy safe treats, if you wish. Amber donates the unsafe candy to her local youth ministry. You may want to adjust how much you offer (some kids really bring home a lot of candy!!)


Although we always think of trick or treat in terms of candy brought home – isn’t it always true that there’s that ‘one’ house in the neighborhood where the main attraction is the scariness of the house itself? I always hated that house! What about turning the idea on it’s head, and making a few non scary game/activity stations in your yard – provide some memories for the kids, without worrying about food allergies! You can click on the photo to get instructions for the ghost toss game, or check out Pinterest for tons of great ideas!

Trick or Treat

TIffany M. gave us this tip, which takes both advance planning and a trusting relationship with your neighbors: Before trick or treating, provide your neighbors with the safe and approved candies or treats for your child. This way, when you reach the houses, you know that everything in your child’s bag will be approved in advance.

treasure hunt halloween

Meredith N. suggests skipping trick or treat altogether! In her house, they dress up and she hides safe treats all over the house, then sends the kids on a scavenger hunt to find the goodies. You could do this with a bunch of friends and make a party of it, or you could make the hunt a quiet family tradition (and a much warmer one, at that!)

movie night

Claudia K. suggested this creative idea: Why not turn the night into Movie Night, instead? Add some decorations, a little mood lighting, and a kid friendly Halloween flick, and you can choose what snacks you provide. Use a projector and the side of your garage or house if you’re feeling open to inviting the whole neighborhood to a walk-in movie. Get more movie night ideas by clicking the picture.

neighbors treat

Bake up a batch of spooky cupcakes using Better Batter allergen free mixes and deliver the treats to your neighbors – especially those who may be housebound – they’ll appreciate the fact that you’re bringing something to them, and your kids will learn the value of giving. Save some treats at home for afterward and reward your kids for their kindness with sweets and activities to finish the night.