Having a child with severe food allergies makes holidays a bit more stressful and Halloween (by far) takes the cake. Part of what makes this holiday particularly stressful is not just the food restrictions, but the embedded childhood experience that every "normal" child will participate in. We are a household that celebrates all of our differences, yet there are times as a parent where you hope the support you provide is enough to guide your child through the experience.
This Halloween we will be participating in The Teal Pumpkin Project initiated by the Food Allergy Community of East Tennessee (FACET) and support by Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE). This fantastic initiative supports awareness about food-allergies and promoting non-food items for trick-or-treaters. The concept is about inclusion and providing the safest possible environment as children and adults alike participate. Both food-allergic families and those less influenced by this topic can take the approach of their choosing. It isn't about what you are not providing, it is about what you have available.
Given the newness of the #TealPumpkinProject we will also employ a strategy familiar to food-allergic families and a practice embraced by many other households in recent years as well...that is a visit from the Switch Witch. The concept is similar to that of the Tooth Fairy or Santa in that the Switch Witch visits while children are sleeping. The beauty of the Switch Witch is that she is not part of any traditional Halloween mythology and you can create a story that best fits your family. In our house, the Switch Witch visits in part to help keep everyone safe from food ingredients that may cause "ouches" and she also helps us share our candy with other children that may not have as much as we do. Our goal is not to create another Christmas-like experience, so gift items are generally inexpensive and limited to one or two items. Some of our favorite Switch Witch gifts include:
Planning is the key to a safe Halloween and we hope each and every family will enjoy celebrating this holiday in the coming weeks!
ABOUT CHRISSY K
I am mom to three boys (one with several life-threatening food allergies) who will never own too many picture books or create Pinterest-worthy snacks. Simply Chrissy K is a place to find helpful tips on parenting that stem from my work with families as an educational consultant and parenting coach.
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