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Food allergies are tough to manage on your average day, let alone on holidays or during social events. And while this year holidays look a bit safer for those not having guests coming to celebrate (see the incident with my mother's lip gloss for all you need to know on this subject), even those who are celebrating with immediate family should still be concerned about things like season treats(which may be manufactured differently than the usual products), and potential for allergens in nonfood gifts (like lotions or cosmetics).
Whatever your holidays look like this year, here are some tips to help keep your family safe!
Read the labels, every time!
Even if you have used a product for years, manufacturing practices can change at any time. This is especially true for seasonal specialty products (think those Christmas versions of favorite candies). If you are concerned about cross contact or an allergen not in the top 8, be sure to contact the company directly! There is no legal obligation to list for these in ingredients. Furthermore, cosmetics and lotions may be held to a different standard than food.
If you are getting together with guests outside your household, volunteer to do the cooking, or host.
Even with clear communication, mistakes can happen. Ensure foods are safe by doing the cooking, bringing your own food to a celebration, or (best yet, if you are insistent on getting together with others), hosting. Hosting ensures that you are in control of procedures to limit cross contact (CC) in prep areas. You can also bring your own plates, utensils, or plan to use disposable products to further limit issues with CC.
Clearly communicate your comfort level with anyone you are gathering with; never assume others understand cross contact concerns!
Not comfortable with shared lines or facilities? Communicate this in clear language. Make sure to express concerns with cosmetics or body products that could transfer and cause a reaction as well.
Make sure anyone involved with caretaking has a clear understanding of the patient's allergy action plan.
Better yet, bring a copy as a reference as well as having clear discussions with all appropriate parties! Never leave your child in the care of anyone who does not fully understand the steps to follow in the event of a reaction.
Make sure cosmetics/body products are safe, not just food!
Food isn't the only thing that contains allergens. Many cosmetics and lotions contain nut and seed oils. Never assume a product is safe because you can't eat it!
Finally, always carry 2 epipens, and when in doubt, it is always better to epi than leave the reaction to chance*!
Always follow your individual action plan and listen to your doctor's recommendations first and foremost! Guides like this are great, but your practitioner will know the best steps to keep you or your child safe.
Looking for tips on Top 9 free holiday candy? We love YumEarth!!! Their products (other than candy corn, which is only available around Halloween) are free from Top 9, and their manufacturing facilities are free of Top 9 as well. Best yet? They are delicious!
Be sure to share this to help keep other food allergy patients safe this holiday season!
And be sure to check out Food Allergy Research and Education's webpage to learn more about food allergies. Or check out my food allergy portal for even more about managing food allergies, including recipes, other blog posts, great lists, product recommendations, and more!
This Thanksgiving, I'm grateful for being included in this amazing web series episode by Food Allergy Research and Education. Check out the entire video below!
Celebrate Halloween with free themed coloring pages, and help communicate with Trick or Treaters or party guests about important allergen information with easy to read alert cards.
If you love these, be sure to check out my subscriber's library for tons of other great (and free) printables!
Food Allergy Alert Cards
Let Trick or Treaters or guests know what goodie bags are safe for those with food allergies by pairing these cards with clear bags. Or, use them to display in front of trick or treat bowls.
Disclaimer: Always read individual labels before ingesting if you have a food allergy, or are giving food to someone with a food allergy.
And check out even more Halloween themed printables in the exclusive and completely free subscribers only resource library.
Just some of what you will find there! Teal Pumpkin Project inspired printables, 10 Little Pumpkins printables, more coloring pages, Halloween worksheets for elementary aged kids, binder book activities, and more!
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Many readers will already recognize the Teal Pumpkin for food allergies, but have you heard about the blue bucket for autism? If you have, there are a few things you should know to help you understand why requiring a blue bucket to have a child participate in Halloween is in bad taste, and why disclosing your child's diagnosis with a blue bucket is problematic.
If you are new to my blog and social media feeds, be sure to first take a look at the following resources to help you understand the issues associated with the blue bucket for autism initiative:
There are many, many reasons that Trick or Treaters may behave differently than your expectations. Obviously food allergies are one I discuss a lot, and autism is another. But there are even more reasons Trick or Treaters need and deserve kindness, and why you should be inclusive on Halloween; no matter who comes to your door. And ultimately, it is absolutely none of your business what those reasons are.
About "This Home is Inclusive"
Not all kids talk. It isn't your business.
Not all kids like costumes. It isn't your business.
Not all kids can eat, or even like candy. It isn't your business.
Kids may take a long time to make a choice for any number of reasons. It isn't your business.
Someone's diagnosis is none of your business. Parents/Trick or Treaters shouldn't have to disclose a diagnosis to have their child participate in Trick or Treat. Not all disabilities are visible. Someone's neurotype definitely isn't. Please be inclusive on Halloween, and everyday. No child should feel left out because of adults' expectations. Don't make children put on a show for free candy. It is just plain mean.
Now that you have some background on why inclusivity matters, perhaps consider putting up a sign saying your home is inclusive to everyone on Halloween (food allergy patients, autistics, etc.). The idea for blue pumpkins to show a Trick or Treater is autistic was developed for a reason. Parents of autistics felt that there was a need to disclose a diagnosis for their child to be accepted. How awful is that?! You don't want to be one of those people, right? Of course not.
You can use the sign below to share that your home is inclusive for everyone. Also feel free to share the poem below (with appropriate crediting, of course!).
Free Printables Available for Immediate Download
There are even more food allergy awareness signs in the subscriber's resource library!
"This Home is Inclusive" (Poem Text)
By the Mindfully Scientific Mama
We won't make you ask for a trick or a treat.
No blue buckets required to get a sweet.
No one is too old or too young to join in.
And you don't need a costume to give us a grin.
It isn't our business if you can talk or cannot.
Or why you want a trinket put into your pot.
Halloween is for everyone,
No if, ands, or buts.
Our home is inclusive, we won't keep our door shut!
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Did you catch my recent collaboration with YumEarth and FARE on Instagram? If you are like me and love candy, but need something allergy friendly, check out these amazing YumEarth Goodies available for purchase online!
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn on qualifying purchases. My participation in this program comes at no added cost to you, and helps support this blog. You can learn more about my participation in this program here. Additionally, I have previously collaborated with FARE for a YumEarth campaign. This post is not affiliated nor endorsed by either FARE or YumEarth, and all opinions are my own. I simply love YumEarth products and am happy to endorse them as a consumer!
YumEarth everyday goodies are Top 8 free, and their facilities are currently sesame free. Their candy corn is not Top 8 free (it contains egg). If you are managing allergies, always remember to read labels every time, and be sure to check the allergy policy to confirm specific items are safe for your family. Luckily, YumEarth's website is quite comprehensive and user friendly.
Here are some of my favorite YumEarth products!!!
Looking for the YumEarth allergy policy? You can find that here!
You can find even more YumEarth products here, or directly on their website.
Or, check out these other delicious options (I love these, too!!)
The Teal Pumpkin Project initiative by FARE is literally a lifesaver for food allergy families like mine. With so many ways for Halloween to go from scary fun to plain scary, seeing more and more homes giving out trinkets instead of treats makes this mama feel safer letting my child Trick or Treat. While Trick or Treat may look different this year, for those still participating in a modified version, nonfood treats are just as important as any other year (or perhaps more, since an emergency room visit could now result in exposure to the very virus that is forcing these changes in the first place!).
If you've yet to buy your Teal Pumpkin worthy goodies, fear not! The Mindfully Scientific Mama has you covered with a list of excellent options, plus a list of other stores you can check if you don't like the ones on this roundup!
The Teal Pumpkin Trinket Roundup
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn on qualifying purchases. My participation in this program comes at no additional cost to you, and helps support this blog. You can learn more here. The Mindfully Scientific Mama has not tested the products being recommended, but has researched them and only provided recommendations for highly rated products.
I scoured Amazon so you don't have to! Check out these highly rated options! I've also included some Prime Day Deals for Prime Members looking to save extra.
PRIME DAY DEAL! Glow Sticks - 20% Off On Prime Day
15pcs Halloween Felt Masks - 17% Off on Prime Day
Halloween Crafts - 24PCS Magic Rainbow Scratch Art Masks Kits Bulk - Prime Day Deal
Squishy Super Soft Squeeze Squishes - 23% Off on Prime Day
These are a bit pricier, and therefore may be better for switch witch gifts. But, they are absolutely adorable, and a great sensory toy for kids who need to destress or fidget!
Other Great Stops for Nonfood Goodies for Halloween
If you prefer brick and mortar shopping, here are some stores that often have goodies that would be perfect for trick or treat candy alternatives!
And don't forget to put a Teal Pumpkin on your doorstep to show you are a safer stop for kids with food allergies! You can paint a real pumpkin, or buy a reusable teal pumpkin from many of the stores listed above!
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Over the next month I will be sharing variety of resources, tips, and tricks to help make Halloween 2020 safer for you and your children, while still being tons of fun. This will include Teal Pumpkin Project resources, as well as information about making a socially distant Halloween happen, whether you choose to trick or treat or seek alternatives.
The links below will get you started, and stay tuned to the blog and mysocial media feeds for more! I've also included a list with a few more ideas at the bottom of the page.
Resources to Get You Started
More Halloween Ideas
Is your family skipping trick or treating? Aside from the ideas listed in my Westchester County Mom article, here are some other options to celebrate Halloween at home. You can do these with your family, or include your social/learning pod with precautions!
And be sure to check out my Pinterest account for Halloween themed boards, and ideas from tons of other amazing bloggers!
What comes to mind when you hear the term "allergy attack"? Sneezing? A stuffy nose? Itchy eyes? Maybe you know someone with food allergies and think of hives. Perhaps you even understand that food allergies are life threatening. But what about nonfood products?
In my latest piece for Westchester County Mom's Blog, I discuss my child's anaphylactic reaction and how managing food allergies means more than just watching what you eat.
Or, read my other posts about living as a food allergy family and find resources to help your family on The Mindfully Scientific Mama Food Allergy portal.
The following is an advertisement from Amazon. As an Amazon Associate, I earn on qualifying purchases. Learn more about my participation in this program here. Commissions earned help support this blog and allow me to publish new, valuable content. My participation in this program costs you nothing.
Is your family managing food allergies? What is something you would want people to know about living with these conditions?
Be sure to respond below!
Food allergies are terrifying, and trying to protect your child when they suffer from food allergies brings a whole new level of anxiety to the parenting experience. What if my child picks up an allergen at the playground (you’d be shocked how many people leave tree nuts all over the place!)? Can we safely go out to eat as a family? What if one of my child’s classmates brings in food containing one of my child’s allergens (the school is a nut free campus, but is not sesame free, my child’s other allergen)? What if the school uses an unsafe product during an activity? What if one of my child’s friends is wearing body lotion that contains sesame oil? The "what ifs" can feel suffocating.
Until now. Read more about why Social Distancing Helped Ease My Anxiety as a Food Allergy Parent in my latest blog post for The Inclusive Eating Project.
Or, view all my work on food allergies here.
In an effort to support and #amplifymelanatedvoices, Spokin has published a list of Black owned companies that support those with food allergies. I couldn't be happier to share their article with you, and encourage you to check each of these companies out yourself. I've already had the privilege to connect with some of them on social media.
I will keep this post short; ultimately, I just want to direct you all to this great resource. But please, feel free to share your own recommendations or reviews about these companies with other readers in the comments!
Love this as much as I do? Be sure to share it!
May 2020 (Prior to 5/31)
Find more recipes, product recommendations, activities, and more!
View my author page for Westchester County Mom here.
Disclaimer: Content on this website is meant for informational and educational purposes. Nothing found on The Mindfully Scientific Mama constitutes medical or psychological advice. Always consult a profession in the respect field for advice specific to your situation. Read more about this site's terms and conditions here.