For many children, trick-or-treating on Halloween is the best part of October. Think about it: when you were a child, you might have liked Halloween costumes, or running around after dark... but the real fun was the loot! Coming home with lots of treats after a night around the neighborhood was the goal, even if you knew your parents would ration it out for you. Right?
Moms (and dads!) remember this from our own childhoods, and we do our best to put out treats we know the neighborhood kids will love. But what do we do when our child has a food allergy - or when the little boy across the street does? Even the most health-conscious of parents might get lost trying to remember all those possible allergens.
Well, the Food Allergy Research & Education, Inc (FARE) gave concerned moms and dads a solution, and it's the Teal Pumpkin Project!
The Teal Pumpkin Project is all about supporting those kids in our lives who just can't have the store-bought candy we all know and love. Handing out non-food items, such as toys and knickknacks, helps youngsters with food allergies participate in Trick-or-Treating without risk.
If you are new to the project this year, you may be stuck on what you can hand out in your neighborhood. Have no fear - Halloween might be scary, but non-food treats don't have to be! Here are a few fun, unique ideas for items to hand out for allergy-free fun this Halloween:
- Finger puppets: Kid-sized finger puppets are available in bulk/wholesale, and children love to play with them! Make sure to avoid rubber, though - unfortunately, children with latex allergies are unable to play with rubber toys. Materials such as cloth and felt, however, are more common in finger puppets, and generally latex-free.
- Bubbles: Mini bubble blowers come in tons of colors and are easy to find in bulk at party favor stores. The best part? It'll get the neighborhood kids playing outside! Handing out bubble bottles is a great way to add some variety to your Teal Pumpkin treat bowl... just be sure to look for non-toxic!
- Noise-makers: All right, maybe this one is unique for a reason... but children love them, don't they? Kazoo toys, clappers, and blowers come in many bright colors and are available for a low price at party and dollar stores. They're usually allergen-free and non-toxic, but always be sure to check an item's label just in case!
- Crayons, stickers & coloring packs: For the littler kids, you can't go wrong with a little travel coloring book. These are usually available for $1 at the Dollar Store, or even cheaper if you buy several in bulk.
- Bouncy balls: Available for as cheap as 10-25 cents, many of our own employees who have toddlers can vouch for the lovable bouncy ball. Inexpensive and unique, you can get a huge variety without spending a lot of dough.
- Glow bracelets: Do you find that you get a lot of traffic from early trick-or-treaters? If so, this is an especially great idea for you. These act not only as an inexpensive, fun gift for kids, but they can be a great way for parents to keep an extra eye on their kid as it gets dark outside.
- Costume jewelry: Whether you stock up on necklaces or vampire fangs, you can't go wrong with costume-y items. It also gives you a chance to provide a ton of options, so kids feel like they really get to choose something special.
Of course, this list is far from exhaustive, but it's a great place to start. Just keep in mind that whatever you choose, you might want to avoid items with latex (for kids with latex allergies) and items like moldable clay, which can include wheat (a big no-no for kids with wheat allergies). If you stick to these guidelines, we're sure that kids with allergies will love their loot as much as you loved yours.