Halloween is fast approaching. It’s one of my favourite times of the year. The kids and I always have a blast. I like to dress up with the kids, yes, hubby thinks I’m a tad bit crazy! But, I like to have fun just as much as the next kid does! You might be asking how we deal with Halloween when we have kids with food allergies. I have to admit, it was a challenge at first, but now it’s just become something else we just deal with. The boy and the girl both love Halloween … Seriously, is there any kid out there that doesn’t? Seeing as we started this gluten free, dairy free, soy free journey early on in the kids’ lives, it’s made events that surround food a little easier to deal with. Both kids understand that every year when we go out Trick or Treating 95% of their bags will be filled with things that they can’t eat. They get it. Honestly, the first time that we went out for Halloween and we came home with a giant bag of candy that the boy couldn’t consume, there were a few tears. Actually, more than a few, try like a total sobfest. It was heartbreaking to watch, but it was my fault for not being prepared. Of course, I had a few safe treats for him at home that we exchanged and that made him feel better. The next year we went out, I was determined to have a better plan in place. So, I scoured the internet for ideas on how to deal with our type of situation. And, jackpot! We’ve found something that works. I still have a very small stash of gluten free, dairy free and soy free treats that the boy and the girl can have on Halloween. We still go out and Treat or Treat just like any other family would. We still drag home bags full of candy that we can’t have. But, for the past few years we have had a visit each year from the Switch Witch. Who, might you ask, is the Switch Witch? Well, she’s a very nice witch that visits special little girls and boys who have food allergies every year, on Halloween night. The boy and the girl gather up all the candy and treats they can’t have and they put them out on the front door step on the night of Halloween. In the night, the Switch Witch comes and takes the candy and replaces it with a toy or book. And, that’s it! The kids get up in the morning, excited to see what the Switch Witch has brought them and they’re content. Actually, it’s more like they’re ecstatic. And, so is this Momma. I don’t have patrol the Halloween candy bag for months on end and most of all, we avoid all the tears. It’s the best of both worlds really. The boy and the girl get to have a blast Trick or Treating and I am at ease knowing that they are included and feel the same excitement as every other kid on the block. That is always my worry as a mother of a child with food allergies … that they will feel left out and somehow feel abnormal. I do my best to ensure that they always have something special, just for them, but holidays such as Halloween can be tricky at times. For us, the Switch Witch has solved some of our issues. Although, the boy is 6 now and he’s come up with a few, very smart questions about the Switch Witch. I’ve had to come up with some quick answers and for now, he is happy with those answers. One question was, how does the Switch Witch know to come to our house? How does she know I can’t have all that candy? Well, apparently she flies around on Halloween night and checks each doorstep for bags of candy and when she sees one, she stops and replaces the candy with something else for the kids. It was a quick answer that made him happy. I’ve shared this Switch Witch idea with many of my friends who don’t have kids with food allergies and some of them have said they even they think it’s an ingenious idea and that they might try it themselves. And really, who needs a giant bag of candy anyway, right?
Along with Halloween, this week is full of excitement. I’ve got a little girl turning 4 tomorrow. I can’t believe it! She’s excited that she will be bringing gluten free, dairy free and soy free cupcakes to school to share with her friends tomorrow. There is also her birthday party, pumpkin carving and a Halloween dance for the boy. He is excited to be bringing a safe treat to share with his entire class as well. See, it’s the little things that count. Both teachers have also approached me to ask about safe treats for the kids for Halloween. So, although this week is busy, it will be a fun week. And, because of the early prep I’ve done, it will also be worry free. That’s the best part! I’d like to find out from you … what do you do each year to navigate Halloween? Share your thoughts with me on my Facebook page, Twitter or write a comment below.