Meet Jack-Teal-Lantern. He's a teal pumpkin who loves spreading joy and inclusiveness to all children, no matter what health conditions or dietary restrictions they have. And today, he wants to make suggestions for how to have a Fun and Safe time trick-or-treating when you have Food Allergies.
Jack-Teal-Lantern's Halloween Safety Tips
- Carry your Epi with you when out trick-or-treating, going to parties, and everywhere else! And most importantly, use it if you need it!
- Don't eat any candy while you are out trick-or-treating. Not at all. Not even things you've eaten safely before. Candies can change from year to year so you don't want to take any risks.
- If someone tries to hand you candy that you know is unsafe, it is okay to politely say "I am allergic to that, may I have something else instead?"
- Always be polite. No one is required to give out candy, so don't be rude if all they have is candy you can't eat. Either accept it with a "thank you" to trade with someone else, or politely decline. No one will appreciate you being rude about someone's candy selection. Not even your parents.
- Look for teal pumpkins! Remember that houses with teal pumpkins will have something non-food to give out, which means you can score great toys or craft materials to enjoy! When you see a house with a teal pumpkin, be sure to ask for the non-food treats and say a great big Thank You for supporting kids with food allergies!
- Print out a few small Teal Pumpkin Project fliers and take them with you while you trick-or-treat. Some people hand out non-food treats even if they've never heard of the Teal Pumpkin Project. At these houses, give them a flyer, thank them for having something that isn't food, and encourage them to put out a teal pumpkin next year.
- When you get home, read all of the labels with the help of a trusted adult. Sort your candy into three piles: one for safe candy, one for unsafe candy, and one for candies you think are safe but which aren't labeled. If you or your parents have the chance you could check the labels on the "uncertain" pile before the stores sell the rest of the candy packages. (But if you can't find out, then don't eat those!)
- Figure out a way to get rid of your unsafe candy. Remember that it is perfectly good food to other people. Whether you're handing it out to other trick-or-treaters, setting it out for the Switch Witch, trading with friends, or selling your candy to a dentist (who will then ship it to our troops), there are lots of ways to safely and efficiently get the candy you can't eat out of the house.
- Don't begrudge your parents or siblings a taste of the candy you can't eat. Everyone likes different things, and everyone can eat different things. Just remind them to wash their hands and brush their teeth after.
- Remember that you aren't the only kid with food allergies. Be mindful of the allergies of other people, whether they are your friends, your siblings, or your parents. Keep candies that they can't eat away from them, and remember to wash your hands. (This applies to taking Halloween candy to school with lunch, too.)
- Don't take risks. No matter how much your friends or siblings like a candy you are allergic to, taking a taste isn't worth having a reaction. Chances are you won't like the candies you're allergic to anyway.
- Don't forget Halloween safety rules that all kids must follow, including only going to houses with lights on, staying with a grown-up (or at least with your group of friends), watching for cars before you cross the street, etc.
- Have fun! But always remember to be safe!