Manners Matter: Trick-or-Treating with Allergies

Dear Mary Pat,

My child has a severe peanut allergy and this is a tricky time of year for her. She didn’t choose to be allergic to peanuts and any accidental exposure could cause her to become seriously ill or worse. I know people don’t mean to be cruel, but there are a lot of jokes and eye rolls about people who are gluten free or are restricted with what they can eat.  If they only knew someone with a deadly allergy or someone with celiac disease, they might understand that it isn’t funny and these kids (and adults) aren’t being difficult or trying to get attention. I’m not suggesting that everyone give up all nuts just because my child has an allergy. I would just like people to understand and have a little compassion for all the kids out there who can’t risk going trick-or-treating.


Concerned Mom


Dear Concerned Mom,

Thank you for your message. I think a lot of people are getting to be more aware of such allergies and medical conditions. It’s fairly common now to list “dietary restrictions/allergies” on a wedding RSVP card and schools have had to modify what can be brought into class for birthday celebrations and special treats. Restaurants also really pay attention now when someone mentions a food allergy.

I’m sure you’ve heard of the teal pumpkin project? For those of you who haven’t, the teal pumpkin project is a way to both raise awareness about food allergies as well as to let parents know what houses are allergy safe on Halloween. Participants put a teal pumpkin in front of their home to let parents know that they have non-food items for trick-or-treaters with allergies. For more information on the teal pumpkin project or about food allergies, go to  Help spread the word on Facebook too.

Good luck,

Mary Pat

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