Our food allergy family has slowly been figuring out how to do major holidays with 2 kids that are allergic to peanuts, sesame, and eggs. It’s taken five years for us to accomplish this, and it’s often felt painful.
As their mother, I’ve grieved the fact that my children will not experience Halloween traditions in the same way that I did growing up. I’m sad that trick-or-treating is not a carefree, thought-free activity for my family.
It just straight up sucks at times.
And it’s okay to name the parts that suck. It’s okay to feel that way.
Without a doubt, I know that when I’m grieving, or angry about the impact of living with food allergies, I’m actually about to find myself in a better place. Because those hard feelings drive me toward change.
I start fighting back against my disappointment by getting creative, thinking of new ideas, and seeking support from those that love my family.
Before I know it, my family begins to step outside our comfort zone and set out on paths untaken. We start to create new family traditions and come up with our own unique activities.
Therefore, if you are currently in a season of desiring to figure out a new “normal” for Halloween activities and traditions, then I hope this list of ideas gives you a place to start!
Our Family’s New Halloween Traditions
1. Driving to Teal Pumpkin Houses
Instead of the typical trick-or-treating walking around our neighborhood, we have started driving to different houses that are participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project.
I like this option more than traditional trick-or-treating because it:
- reduces the amount of things we bring home
- it gives the kids a chance to warm up in the car (we live in a coldish state)
- it means we are touching less food because most people do non-food items
Additionally, at our house, we participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project by putting out a teal pumpkin that has non-food items in it. That way, no matter what the food allergy is, all children can participate.
FARE is the trusted source of information about food allergies and they post a map of participating Teal Pumpkin houses each year. You can find this year’s link HERE.
2. Halloween Drives
This has become a very popular tradition in our family the past few years! Similar to Christmas light shows, there are a lot of houses in our city that do laser light shows for Halloween. Other houses just go crazy with Halloween decorations in their yards. Either way, they are fun to drive by!
Our kids like to pack blankets, drinks, and snacks in the car for this family outing. I sometimes even make Halloween Scavenger Hunt pages for them to mark off in the car.
For example, check out the picture below.
Moreover, I like that we can do this as many times as we want during the last few weeks of October. It’s a great go-to activity when I need to find something to keep the kids busy!
Additionally, you can find out if your town has Halloween laser lights by:
- looking it up on your local news station
- asking in local social media groups (Facebook, Nextdoor App, etc)
- checking in with your local museum, zoo, and planetarium
3. Halloween Dance Party
I first saw this idea on fellow food allergy mom (and author) Emily Duty’s Instagram account. She posted that her family has an annual dance party in their front yard with speakers and party lights!
Emily said that the kids in her neighborhood would stop at her house for a bit just to dance. What a fun activity for the kids to look forward to yearly as well as a great way to connect with the local community!
Consequently, I am definitely stealing the idea for this year’s Halloween! 😂
If you want to see more of Emily’s ideas and her food allergy children’s books, check out her Instagram handle @emily_duty or her website link HERE.
4. Glow Stick Baths
Again, this is another amazing idea from a fellow Instagram creator. I first saw this posted on account @lowliftfun last autumn. It looked so interesting that I had to give it a try!
Green and orange glow sticks were on sale at my local grocery store, so I stocked up and started putting them in my kids’ bath water a few weeks before Halloween.
They had an absolute blast with this activity, especially the night of Halloween when we were winding down for bed. We turned off the lights, got the glow sticks going, and the kids then relaxed in their bath water.
It was a festive, yet calming end to a very busy day!
5. We Decorate for Christmas
Yeah, girl. I’m 100% the zealous millennial lady that decorates for Christmas two months early.
This has actually been a tradition that my husband and I started before we even had kids and it stuck. The kids love dragging all our Christmas boxes out the morning of Halloween.
We love to go through our ornaments and talk about our family stories that are associated with each one.
After we pull out all our Christmas decor, we pack up our Halloween decorations and then get dressed to go out that night for an evening of fun.
Your family doesn’t need to do this, but other ideas could be:
- Decorating for Halloween the day of and making it a big deal
- Making your own paper Halloween decor/crafts to hang up around the house
- Making and decorating your own allergy safe cookies
- Reading Halloween themed books
- Watching a Halloween family movie
6. A Special Dinner Tradition
We are not from the midwest, but someone introduced our family to the amazing duo of chili and cinnamon rolls. Well, we got hooked pretty darn fast.
I throw chili ingredients into our trusty crockpot that morning and let it simmer all day. My husband is the professional baker in the family (I’m his padawan) and he makes the cinnamon rolls.
Without a doubt, this is a tradition that will continue in our family for years to come. So many fun family memories have been created in our kitchen by focusing on what we CAN eat, and how to prepare it safely.
7. Halloween Baskets
Anyone that knows my family knows my mom is a creative genius.😎
She came up with the idea of Halloween baskets, similar to the Easter basket tradition. We fill pumpkin gift bags (you can also just use regular plastic Halloween candy totes) full of fun kid items.
Subsequently, these are our go to items for Halloween baskets:
- little toys
- art supplies
- Halloween socks
- silly straws
- coloring pages
Finally, after the bags are put together, we either place them outside the kids’ doors when they sleep or we place them on the kitchen table for breakfast time Halloween morning.
Our kids have really come to love this tradition!
Additional Tradition Ideas
My family hasn’t personally made the following ideas into traditions yet, but these are options for the future. Hopefully they give you some great ideas too!
Halloween Craft Night
I know a family that hosts a Halloween craft night each year during the month of October. It is something that their friends and family look forward to attending!
Whereas a lot of parties are food centered, this party would be “craft supplies” centered. For example, guests could bring different craft supplies instead of food.
Moreover, if one wanted to have snacks or drinks at this gathering, the food allergy family could make sure safe brands were available for their family’s specific needs.
Some great crafting ideas can be found here:
- Click HERE for The Pioneer Woman’s article about Halloween kid crafts.
- Country Living’s article about Halloween crafts can be found HERE.
Host Your Own Costume Party
There are many food allergy families that host their own holiday gatherings or meals in order to better control safety measures around food. Similarly, your family could also host your own costume party to celebrate all things Halloween with friends and family.
In my city, I’ve seen many people open their garages and create a haunted house for trick-or-treaters to walk through. If your kids are older, or you want to take the emphasis off all the candy, this might be a good idea!
Checkout Google and YouTube for step-by-step directions on creating your own haunted house in a garage.
I hope this post was helpful to you! If so, please drop us a comment and share on your social media!
Thinking of you and your family this Halloween season!