Allergy-free treats are an important trademark of Halloween

Providing treats that won’t make someone ill or kill them makes you a pretty cool college students

More stories from Rebecca Mennecke


Photo by Marketing Mama

A handy guide for some allergy-free treats and non-allergy free treats.

It’s so close to Halloween, that I can almost feel its spidery, cobwebby, spooky goodness. A day where cute children go door-to-door excitedly yelling, “trick or treat!” and holding out their bags already stuffed full of sugary goodies. But, there’s one really important thing to remember when handing out Halloween treats: kids with allergies.

It’s not something I think about at all, as I am a person without any food sensitivities whatsoever. I can enjoy my dairy ice cream with Reese’s peanut butter cups and sprinkles with gluten in them and not have to worry about making myself severely ill — or worse, dying from eating a toxic treat. But, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, roughly 8 percent of children have a food allergy and 38.7 percent of children with allergies have had a “history of severe reactions.” Nowadays, more and more kids seem to have food allergies. And, as candy givers, it’s important to be cognizant of potentially deathly candies.

I know, I know. It should be the parents’ responsibilities to watch their kids with candy and teach them not to eat certain foods. I know that’s an important thing for kids with allergies to learn because they need to learn to take care of themselves and their own medical needs instead of always having Mom and Dad watch out for them. But, they’re kids. Sometimes they just don’t know any better, and the last thing we need is for some cute little Queen Elsa, Power Ranger or Kylo Ren to put something in their mouth that could kill them.

So what is a kid with allergies supposed to do?

I mean, they could sit at home and help hand out candy — which is fun — but it’s not as fun as actually getting candy and sneaking those little treasures into their mouths. They could go trick-or-treating, but also face having their parents constantly looking over their shoulders, an Epipen at the ready.

So, I vote that this Halloween we start being cognizant of food allergies and be the “cool house” that gives out good, allergy-free candy.

For starters, Skittles and Starbursts are a great place to start. They’re tree nut-free, gluten-free, soy-free and dairy-free. This caters to a wide variety of allergy-free needs! Another great brand is the brand Suncups, which focuses their attention of allergy-free goodies. Not all of their products are allergy-free, but they feature a good number that are. Life Savers are also allergy-free, Dum Dum lollipops, some types of jelly beans, Mike and Ikes, Dots, Smarties and the list can go on.

All I can say is, it’s really easy to be the cool college kid on the block and pass out allergy-free candies that all kids can enjoy. With all the kids trick-or-treating around the neighborhood — and even making a visit to the upper-campus dorms — it doesn’t take much to make that 8 percent of kids feel welcome into the Halloween spirit as well.

Mennecke can be contacted at [email protected].