Halloween is the Scariest Holiday… And Not for the Reasons You Think

Yup, that is right, Halloween is the scariest holiday. No, it is not because of the goblins and ghosts or the haunted houses. It is because of the candy. No, I am not talking about all those crazy stories you hear of creepers injecting candy with drugs or because I am worried my child will eat too much of it and not sleep that night.

Here is the picture: Your adorable little one is participating in the excitement of the holiday. She can’t wait to get her costume on; she has been walking around the house with her treat bag since she got home from school, and she is practicing saying “Trick or Treat.” But in the back of your mind, you are dreading taking her out to Trick or Treat.halloween FINAL

It is because I am the parent of a peanut allergy child, and Halloween is my worst nightmare. We are talking about hours of exposure to candy filled with nuts or candy made in factories that use shared equipment with peanut products. And, the warning labels are on the outer packages, not on the individual sized products.

I worry about transfer with peanut products. I worry about contamination with other candy that contains peanuts in the treat bags. I worry that she will get a candy open and in her mouth before I can stop her. I worry that she doesn’t fully understand why she can’t have the candy that other kids can have.

Have you tried explaining to a four-year-old, caught up in the moment, why she can’t have the same candy that her friends can have? Yup, it’s a good time.

It is the one night a year that I am a full on helicopter parent. I have an epi-pen in hand and Benadryl on standby. I take her to each door and sort through the candy showing her what she can and can’t have. If you have encountered me at your front door, I am sorry. Most people just look at me like I am crazy and move on to the next kid. I get it, it is a little crazy and controlling, but I know majority of people don’t understand just how scary Halloween can be in our situation. What starts out as a fun time can quickly escalate in to a situation that I can’t even bring myself to think about.

I am anti-bubble kid and don’t want to let her allergy stop her, so it is not about just staying home and not participating. It is about totally stressing myself out and jumping through all the hoops so that she has a good time and can be one of the rest of the kids and enjoy herself.

So, if you still have to buy Halloween candy, or if you have eaten through your entire stash and need to replenish before the trick or treaters arrive, please remember me when you are shopping. Remember how stressful of a holiday this is and select something that is safe for all kids to enjoy.

Suggestions on “Safe” Candy to Give Out for Halloween:

  1. Ring Pops
  2. Smarties
  3. Jelly Beans
  4. Skittles
  5. Blow Pops
  6. Fruit Snacks
  7. Goldfish
  8. Sweettarts
  9. Nerds
  10. Dum Dums

Non-Food Options to Give Out for Halloween:

  1. Stickers
  2. Bubbles
  3. Toothbrushes
  4. Pencils
  5. Crayons
  6. Spider Rings
  7. Vampire Teeth
  8. Glow in the Dark items such as necklaces and bracelets
  9. Temporary tattoos
  10. Party-sized Playdough


  1. Thank you for including a list of safe candy options! That’s what we’ll be offering this year. I’m also cracking up at the non food options – I think we’d have a revolt on our hands if we passed out toothbrushes! 🙂

  2. Thanks for the reminder for moms who don’t deal with food allergies on a daily basis. I would love for more houses to pass out things like goldfish or fruit snacks that can double as snacks, not just treats like candy!

  3. Thank you for this list, I’m sorry, but I’ve never thought of peanut allergies for Halloween candy before. Now, because of this list, I can do better.

  4. Thank you for your article. I too have a daughter with food allergy and I find myself stressing myself out running in circles with “Look-a-like” treats for so many occasions: school parties, birthdays, play dates, Halloween. I feel better knowing I am not the only one.

  5. I was reading another article on this and it also mentioned that a lot of children have berry allergies and can’t have the fruit snacks or a lot of the fruit flavored candy that uses real fruit in their flavors/dyes : ( I am going to stick with non-food options just to be safe from now on.

  6. Excellent article! I also love the safe treat recommendation list; however, there are even better candy options – many candies are free of the Top 8 (many kids, like mine, have multiple life-threatening food allergies). Top-8 Free candies include; Skittles, Swedish Fish, Smarties, Starbursts, Twizzlers, Lifesavers, Dum Dum Lollipops, Sweetarts, Nerds, and Jolly Ranchers, among others. Our plan is to have TWO Teal pumkins this Halloween. One pumpkin announcing that Top 8-Free candies are available and another announcing that non-edible treats are available, for those kids with rarer allergies.

  7. Question, are tootsie rolls ok? I just discovered a child in my sons class has a peanut allergy and I’m redoing our treat bags tonight for his party tomorrow.

  8. I completely understand. . My oldest (4.5yrs) is allergic to every nut except peanuts and almonds. It is crazy stressful due to the cross contamination in EVERYTHING. It must truly suck having it on the peanut side. I had a little girl come to our door, put her hand on her hip, and say “*sigh*, don’t you have any chocolate in there?” I said in my best mommy voice, “excuse me?” Tha K goodness her friend recognized Halloween is not about getting specific things and told her to just pick the nerds as she knew she like those. . I might take your suggestions and do NO candy this year.


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