Trick-or-treating with allergies


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Many people decorate the outside of their homes with carved pumpkins as Halloween approaches.

But you may notice some pumpkins that aren’t their usual orange color.

“Peanuts is definitely a big one. You’re going to find wheat is going to be one, soy, milk. Those are going to be really problematic for some kids,” Sousek said.

Those are just some of the common allergies registered dietitian Kristen Sousek says children may have. And pairing any of those allergies with a night of trick-or-treating can make for a scary Halloween.

“When they’re out trick or treating we want to make sure that they’re safe and they’re not getting something that they’re going to eat or ingest that is going to actually make them sick,” Kristin Sousek said.

In an effort to make sure children with allergies can still enjoy going door to door for treats, the teal pumpkin project was created. People can place a teal pumpkin outside their door to signal that they’re handing out items aside from candy or food.

Kandyce Thooft supports the idea and is happy when her kids get treats aside from candy.

“They like books, they get excited about new things, toothbrushes and what not,” Thooft said.

If others are considering passing out small prizes Sousek says Hy-Vee offers many affordable options.

“We have a lot of dollar toys. Fun little stickers, or slap bands, or basically cups, anything you know that kids are going to enjoy just as much as the candy,” Sousek said.

If you’re planning to hand out items other than candy or food, Sousek says you can find an already painted teal pumpkin at Hy-Vee.

For those choosing the trick-or-treating route, Sousek cautions parents of children with allergies to pay close attention to the labels.

“A full size bar such as a Reeces bar is actually gluten free, but their seasonal bars or maybe even their minis, are not gluten free,” Sousek said.

She says there’s no guarantee full size candy will mirror other variations of it when it comes to allergens.

“It’s pretty important that we make sure that we keep our kiddos safe when they’re out trick or treating,” Sousek said.

If you’re interested in more non-food options, Sousek says Hy-Vee offers a free list for people inside the store.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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