Every year, my younger son looks forward to Halloween. It falls less than a month after his birthday and he loves a celebration. He cannot eat any food that contains peanuts or tree nuts or was manufactured in a facility where peanuts or tree nuts are present. He has had a horrifying throat-closing reaction. He also is contact sensitive, and has broken out in hives from touching closed packages of candy. Despite food allergies, he never skipped trick-or-treating. It was such fun trying to decide what to be for Halloween and then finding or making the right costume. He looked forward to Halloween with such anticipation, not because of the candy, but because of the chance to be in costume, and be out at night in the dark, with friends. Before Halloween, there was a night of Halloween bingo at the elementary school, where children would have a chance to wear their costumes while playing bingo and winning prizes. Those were joy-filled nights. Halloween was a night out late on a school night with friends. Halloween was a chance to wander in the darkness with our flashlights and say hello to neighbors at the other end of the street. It was a chance to play flashlight tag in the dark in costume with all the other kids in the neighborhood. We never feared Halloween or thought about being excluded because of food allergies. He just wore his gloves (to avoid contact reactions), we went out and had fun with friends, and he reached for the treats himself at each door. At the end of the night, I would take the bag of candy collected, and get out my own stash of safe treats. By the time we got home, we were usually pretty tired from all the fun, and not much in the mood for eating candy anyway.
Now he is in middle school, so we are on to different things. Maybe he'll answer the door with friends this year instead. Maybe they'll do it in costume. Maybe we'll give out Tootsie candies and Smarties, and some non-food treats this year. However you choose to celebrate it, enjoy Halloween! It should not be a source of stress for mom, dad, or the kids. It's all about fun; and it is easy to be food allergy safe while having fun. If you aren't having fun, it's time to reconsider your strategy!