Costumes, decorations, and parties are all part of the Halloween fun, but let’s face it: The real reason that Halloween is candy. However if you’re a kid with food allergies, that’s also the reason that Halloween can be a big letdown.

Most years, my daughter who has peanut and tree nut allergies has to donate or toss nearly 90 percent of her loot. It’s a total bummer.

However, with a little thought and planning, Halloween can be fun for all. Which is why I’m happy to share these two ways to make trick-or-treating more fun—and safer—for kids with food allergies.

Related: An easy guide to an allergy free Halloween: Tips, treats, recipes, and more.


The Teal Pumpkin Project

Teal Pumpkin Project for kids with food allergies. Participating is easy and makes trick-or-treating safer and more fun for all kids. | Cool Mom Eats

Photo: @emmymhill on Instagram

If you don’t yet know the The Teal Pumpkin Project, it launched as a national campaign by Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) back in 2014, and is a great way to make Halloween safer for all kids — all while keeping treats in the equation. Just, the non-food kind.

To show trick-or-treaters that you’re an allergy-friendly house, place a teal pumpkin near your front door (you can paint one or buy a foam teal pumpkin that you can reuse annually), then display a free printable Teal Pumpkin Project sign from FARE on your door to let kids know you’ll have a separate container filled with non-food treats for allergen-free kids.

Need inspiration? Check out our roundup of cool food-free Halloween treat ideas! And remember, even kids without allergies can stand to get a few non-candy treats. It’s not like there won’t be enough chocolate in their bags. And hey, sometimes they even like those spider rings and temporary tattoos better.

Related: 9 non-candy Halloween party treats that kids will love.


The Switch Witch

The Switch Witch trades candy for fun toys on Halloween. This system, which comes with a doll and book, is especially great for kids with food allergies since they often can't eat much of their trick-or-treating haul. | Cool Mom Eats

Even with more families participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project, it’s inevitable that allergen-free kids will get lots of candy from trick-or-treating that they can’t eat. Instead of throwing all that candy away, use The Switch Witch to trade their candy in for a toy.

The Switch Witch package comes with a doll and a book that tells the tale of a witch who needs candy to make her broom fly. On Halloween night, when your kids are done trick-or-treating, you sort through the candy and pick out all of the unsafe treats. Leave them in a bag with a note for the Switch Witch, and while the kids are sleeping, she’ll take the bag of candy and leave a toy in its place.

(Then, you can find lots of places to donate the candy to a good cause.)

Like the Elf on the Shelf, you can certainly use The Switch Witch doll to try to instill good behavior before the holiday; but I think that the candy-for-toy aspect on its own makes it a cool addition to Halloween, especially for younger kids.

And, of course, you don’t have to be a family with food allergies to take advantage of this smart trade. Especially if you’re in a neighborhood where kids come home with a three-pillowcase haul of Mini Snickers and Jolly Ranchers. But I particularly love how the Switch Witch turns what can be a disappointing situation for kids with food allergies into something really fun.

Also, be sure to read our comprehensive post on 5 important tips for making Halloween safe for kids with allergies.