Posts Tagged ‘halloween’

Halloween ideas for kids with food allergies or sensory challenges

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

pumpkinWhen you hear the word “Halloween” do you think of candy? Chocolate? Fun costumes? For children with food allergies or sensory issues, Halloween can be a frustrating evening. The thrill of getting treats can quickly become a letdown if there is nothing that your child can eat. And, the thought of wearing a costume may be the last thing your sensory special child will want to do.

Non-foods gain in popularity

Years ago, in my neighborhood, we knew of a child on our street who had food allergies. As a result, some moms decided to have an assortment of other acceptable treats to give out, so that the child with food allergies could enjoy Halloween, too.

We offered the kids non-chocolate choices, such as bags of pretzels, crackers and pops. But, surprisingly, the most popular alternatives were non-food items. Crayons, tiny notepads, little cars, plastic jewelry, glow stick necklaces, stickers, and other inexpensive but fun playthings soon became an equally desired treat for many children. I was surprised to see kids who did not have food allergies choosing stickers instead of a chocolate treat. Their eyes lit up when they saw my bucket filled with non-candy gifts. The best part is that you can get most of these items at dollar stores or discount centers, so offering alternatives won’t be a costly venture. Just be careful that you do not get tiny toys, as they can be a choking hazard to small children.

My colleague here at the March of Dimes said that the “best” house for trick or treating in her neighborhood was the one where they gave out quarters instead of candy. She and her friends loved it, as they could buy whatever treat they wanted. (But again, be careful you don’t give coins to young children as they are liable to put them in their mouths.)

When you stop to think, it makes perfect sense to widen the net of Halloween treats. Food allergies are becoming more common, so offering non-food treats is a perfect way to keep Halloween safe and yet be tons of fun. Why not think about offering non-candy treats this year and start a whole new tradition? But watch out – you may well end up being the most popular house on the block for trick or treaters!

Can’t wear a costume?

Little Red Riding HoodIf your child has sensory issues and can’t fathom the idea of putting on a costume, don’t fret. Just yesterday, a little 2 year old in my neighborhood toddled by my front steps as I was sitting there enjoying the sunshine. Her mom told me that she is sad because her daughter refuses to even try on a costume. I suggested she create a “costume” out of her regular clothes. For instance, if she has a red dress or a red hoodie, she can carry a little basket and be Little Red Riding Hood. (True confessions – I did this for my daughter when she was about that age!) Here are more ideas on how to prepare your child with sensory challenges for Halloween.  Also, you can ask your child’s Occupational Therapist for specific ideas that can make him comfortable.

Just remember, the most important thing is that your child is comfortable and safe, and has fun on Halloween.

What tricks have you tried to help your little one have fun on Halloween? Please share.

Note:  This post is part of the weekly series Delays and disabilities – how to get help for your child. It was started in January 2013 and appears every Wednesday. While on News Moms Need, select “Help for your child” on the menu on the right side to view all of the blog posts to date. You can also see a Table of Contents of prior posts, here.

If you have comments or questions, please send them to We welcome your input!

Trick-or-treating safety tips

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

jackolanternMy little girl has been begging to wear her Halloween costume ever since we bought it. Tonight, she finally gets to dress up as a super hero – Wonder Woman, to be exact. I’ll admit; the costume is pretty cool!

If you’re heading out for trick-or-treating today, the American Academy of Pediatrics offers some helpful safety tips:

• Make sure that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping or contact with any open flame.
• Add reflective tape to costumes and trick-or-treat bags.
• Use a flashlight and keep your group together.
• Carry a cellphone.
• Stay on well-lit streets and use the sidewalk.
• If no sidewalk is available, walk on the far edge of the road facing traffic.
• Use crosswalks when crossing the street.
• Teach your child how to call 911(or their local emergency number) if they have an emergency or get lost.
• Check candy and other treats before eating. Throw out any spoiled or unwrapped treats.

Have a happy and safe Halloween!

Has Halloween been postponed?

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

halloweenHurricane Sandy has made a mess of so much, including Halloween. It’s too dangerous in many neighborhoods to go out and the little ghosts and goblins I know are pretty disappointed. Here’s a suggestion:

Make a few “houses” in your home (under the dining room table, in the bathroom, in the bedrooms) and supply each one with a couple of treats. Then let your tots dress up in their fun clothes and knock on the door of each “house.”  If you have a next door neighbor with kids, invite them over. You can make funny faces with flashlights and tell silly stories. (I’d steer clear of the scary stuff. Sandy brought enough scary to last a very long time.)

Our town has postponed trick-or-treating to Saturday, but we’re still going to have some fun tonight.  Happy Halloween!

Pumpkin seeds are good for you

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

pumpkin-carving2Carving pumpkins is fun and eating their seeds is good for you. Hoisting a hefty pumpkin will not only help your muscles, but did you know that eating a serving of seeds will give you 5 grams of protein? They also are yummy sources of zinc, manganese, phosphorus, iron, and potassium, too.

An excellent way to enjoy this healthy snack is to let the seeds air dry by themselves or roast them. When you’re done carving the pumpkin for the kiddos, separate the seeds from any extra pulp and dry them off. If you want to roast them, coat them with a dot of olive oil if you like it, you don’t need much at all, and perhaps a pinch of sea salt. Spread them in a single layer on a cookie sheet and roast them at about 250 degrees F for about an hour, turning every 15 to 20 minutes.  Be sure they have cooled off before you dive in!

These are great as snacks, on salads, ground up in muffins or bread crumb mixes. What do you do with your pumpkin seeds?

For more information on the benefits of pumpkin seeds and a different roasting technique, here’s a link to an interesting article.

Halloween safety tips

Monday, October 12th, 2009

39191668_thbIt’s hard to believe, but Halloween is right around the corner. My husband and I are both off from work today, so we’re headed out to buy decorations and mums for the front stoop. Our little pumpkin is too young for trick-or-treating, but it’s not too soon for us to learn how to enjoy this holiday safely with her. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has some helpful Halloween safety tips on their website. Click here to check them out.

Pregnant Mommies: Not so fast on that Halloween candy!

Friday, October 31st, 2008

It’s Halloween and the kids will be bringing home LOADS of goodies. It’s okay for mommies to treat themselves every once in a while during pregnancy. But don’t overload on the fun-size candy bars and the candy corn.

A recent study in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology shows that moms who gained more than 40 pounds during their pregnancy were twice as likely to have babies who were too large, compared to other moms. In fact, out of 40,000 moms in the study, 1 in 5 of them had gained too much weight during their pregnancy.

So what’s the harm in having a large baby, you ask? Well, let’s start with what that means for moms. Moms who gain too much weight during pregnancy are at increased risk of facing serious health complications such as gestational diabetes, gestational hypertension and preeclamspia.  Also, a pregnant mom who gains too much weight is more likely to encounter difficulties during labor and childbirth, such as a baby stuck in the birth canal, vaginal tearing, c-section, a longer hospital stay and other recovery complications.

Babies born to overweight or obese moms face their own special health risks, too. These newborns are at increased risk of being born prematurely, having certain birth defects and needing special care in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Some studies even suggest that babies born too big are more likely to face obesity in their childhood, which is a growing problem in the U.S.

While you don’t want to go on any “fad diet” during pregnancy, it’s important that you make healthy food choicesWatch our video on healthy food choices during pregnancy.  Talk to your health provider for more nutrition tips.

Image: Juushika Redgrave, Flickr

The best Halloween costumes

Friday, October 31st, 2008

I’m totally convinced that the best costumes out there are homemade.  Not only are the kids looking great and having a blast, but you can see Mom or Dad hanging back in the bushes beaming with pride over their creativity.  (Then there are the folks who are experts at tracking down truly outrageous costumes for a pittance on e-bay.  They get kudos, too.)

When I was a kid, we all were pirates and ballerinas, ghosts and princesses and ugly witches.  These days, however, it seems that kids and parents are getting incredibly creative with costumes and makeup and I just love opening the front door on Halloween.  Here are a few of the more memorable costumes in our family:

My step-daughter once was an alarm clock with two big bells on her head.

My nephew over the years has been a large cup of water (with a PVC straw); a box of popcorn (think of stringing a tree at Christmas and moving the garlands of popcorn to the top of his head); and a bulldozer.

Two years ago, my grandson was the Empire State Building (it took forever to draw in all those windows!).  Last year he was a Tivo box.  He has decided to be a cup of Starbuck’s coffee this year.

I think my favorite of recent years was my co-worker who, draped in black cloth from head to toe, announced that she was “Death by Chocolate!”

Send us links to your pictures and have fun!