One magical day of the year invites us to enter the world of fantasy and become superheroes, fairies, firefighters or scary villains. Most people think of the evening of October 31 as a treat unto itself: parents ooh-ing and ah-ing over darling costumes, children of all ages delighting in candy and friends’ outlandish outfits, while everyone socializes by the light of glowing pumpkins.
For those with life-threatening food allergies or restricted diets, this night can feel scary because of the emphasis on the treats and the treating. But you can reclaim the wonder of Halloween. With a dash of creativity, a heap of commitment to allergen safety, and a big pot of Halloween cheer, everyone can feel included and special.
Decorating Your Home
- Cut out flying bats from black construction paper and hang with fishing wire outside your door.
- Make inspired allergy-friendly Halloween crafts.
- Update photo displays with fangs or mustaches cut out from felt and use removable tape to safely attach them to photo frames.
- Work on costumes together as a family while watching Halloween movies or listening to the Monster Mash.
Buy treats to share at school or home that are inclusive and safe. For instance:
- Nose pencil sharpeners.
- Halloween-themed latex-free rubber ducks.
- Spider rings, necklaces, stickers and fake fangs are winners.
- Wrap one page of a Halloween-themed Mad Libs word game around a pencil.
- Serve a party of kids a special allergy-friendly meal, using Halloween-themed recipes, such as Witches’ Brew Stew or Tombstone Tacos. And don’t forget the spooky party place settings.
Halloween Night Spooktacular!
Instead of Trick or Treating, consider a few of these tips to keep the evening glowing. Invite a few friends to stop by to share the excitement and fun.
- Create the world’s largest Monster mural. Invite everyone to help draw a spooky monsters scene on a large piece of paper hung on a wall.
- Funny storytelling. Take turns telling part of a fiendishly good Halloween story, using a silly voice or accent.
- Mr. Skeleton scavenger hunt: purchase a paper skeleton and dismember his parts. Hide them around your yard or home. Ask guests to find the parts to help put him back together again using paper tacks.
- Costume photo op. Take mobile phone photos of costumes while offering props to enhance the photos (mustaches, crazy hats, empty thrift store picture frames, etc.).
- Games: Grab your Sharpies and draw eyeballs on ping pong balls, place eyeballs in spoons and race! More games here.
- Hold a Costume Contest with awards for funniest, most creative or scariest designs.
- Mummy wrapping. A perennial favorite: transform people into mummies with toilet paper rolls.
Next: Teen Parties (including ‘Thriller’ dance steps); safe treating tips
Tweens and Teens
- Host a Thriller dance party! Send out instructions on how to perform the famous Michael Jackson dance (see: How to Dance ‘Thriller’ for Halloween). Turn up your speakers and shake it like a ghoul.
- Create a Matrix-like obstacle course in your hallways using streamers and PaperTac; see who can make it through.
- Host a Murder Mystery in your home and put on your best CSI performance as the night goes on.
- Play charades, but with Halloween or ghost themes.
- Epic Halloween Storytelling: similar to all ages event, but boost the scary factor by inviting teens to sit around an LED candle in a dimly lit room as they add new parts to the frightful tale.
Trick or Treating
If children trick or treat, consider these allergy-friendly options:
- Collect all candy and then place bag outside for the Switch Witch to come and trade a toy for the bag of candy. She needs fuel to fly home after such a busy night.
- Encourage your child to wear gloves to create an allergen barrier.
- Super Lucky Trick or Treater game: collect candy and then return home to give the entire bag to the next person who rings your doorbell. In exchange, provide your child with a special toy or activity like bowling, etc.
- Cash for Candy: teens especially enjoy a candy buyout.
There are so many fun and unique ways to keep the Halloween spirit alive and still be allergy-safe. We hope these ideas inspired you for Halloween!
See Caroline Moassessi’s blog at www.gratefulfoodie.com.