Halloween is definitely one of my favourite holidays – just look at my Instagram to check out my love of pumpkins! Trick or treating is something I loved as a child (especially as I grew up in America) so as Dilan gets older it really upsets me that he can’t enjoy it in quite the same way. For his first few Halloweens he enjoyed staying in and giving out sweets to other Trick or Treaters, but last year was the first year we braved taking him out. Despite my hesitations it was actually totally fine, and he’s been talking about it ever since so I know he had a great time. Here are my top tips for surviving a dairy free Halloween, and I’ll include some great dairy and soya free finds at the bottom.
Be Prepared for a Dairy Free Halloween
I say it all the time, but the best way to handle any thing allergy related is to be prepared. For Halloween there’s a few ways to do this…
Trick or Treat with Family and Friends
If you have family and friends locally this is a great way to make sure your little ones get to have a go at trick or treating safely. Ask your friends to have safe treats ready to give out when you knock on their door.
Prepare Your Neighbours
We don’t live near any of our family so the above wasn’t really an option for Dilan, so something else I considered was preparing our neighbours by giving them safe treats to give back when we came to their door. This is a great option if you know your neighbours, and it means your little ones get to do the same as all of their friends.
All you’d need to do is pick up some safe treats or sweets and drop them round to your neighbours before Halloween. I’ve seen a few people do this by putting a little note through each neighbours door explaining your little one is having a dairy free Halloween, then asking them to either give them out (by listing what your child will be dressed up as), or if they won’t be opening the door to trick or treaters they can just pop the sweets back through your door.
The Switch Witch
The Switch Witch/Swap Fairy/whatever you want to call it is a really great way to let your child enjoy a ‘normal’ Halloween, ensure they stay safe, and bring in a little extra dairy free Halloween magic. You can make it as elaborate or as simple as you like, by either simple explaining it to your child or by creating a letter sent from The Switch Witch.
However you do it, the idea is that you go out trick or treating as normal, and then once you come home The Switch Witch will swap out any unsafe treats for safe ones. Again it’s totally up to you if this happens overnight in some magical way, or you have a bucket of safe treats that the witch has ‘delivered’ while you’ve been gone. Either way it means everyone has fun and stays safe.
Keep it Simple
If The Switch Witch sounds too elaborate, or your child is a bit too old to buy into that story then you could always keep it simple and just explain that any unsafe treats they get will have to go in the bin/to someone else, but that you’ll replace them with their favourite treats instead.
Last year we agreed with Dilan that we would swap out any unsafe treats but he ended up getting 99% Haribo and other safe jelly sweets so it was fine. We removed a few chocolate pieces and one homemade cookie and he barely noticed. We found that a lot of people were giving out a mix of jelly sweets and chocolate, but because Dil is familiar with Haribo he always picked the safe options – so it worked out really well.
Labelled Treats Only
It’s obviously really important to remember to only let your child eat things you are 100% sure are safe. If something is homemade, or not labelled I would strongly advise not letting your child eat it – even if you think it’s safe. It’s really not worth it if you’re wrong.
The Teal Pumpkin Project
The Teal Pumpkin Project is something that started in America, but seems to slowly be catching on here. It’s purpose is to support the inclusion of all trick or treaters during the Halloween period, by providing allergy friendly treats. By displaying a teal pumpkin outside your house you are letting other trick or treaters know that you have safe treats, so if you spot one it’s definitely worth heading to their house.
Why not consider displaying a teal pumpkin outside your house, in case there are any other children with allergies nearby? It’s worth remembering though that children may have all kinds of allergies – not just dairy, so the best option is to provide some non-food treats like bouncy balls, bubbles or other party bag type goodies.
Celebrating at Home
There’s loads of other things you can do to celebrate your dairy free Halloween at home, so don’t feel like you have to go out trick or treating to enjoy it. Activities like pumpkin picking and then carving are great, or there’s loads of craft ideas out there if you fancy getting arty. We love to bake some of these dairy free Halloween Pumpkin Biscuits, because they are SO easy to make but they look brilliant and always impress people. If you like baking check out these Monster Cupcakes too – great fun and perfect for Halloween!
If you’re not into DIY baking check out this cute Witches Hat Biscuit Kit from Tesco. Asda has a really cute Ghoulish Ghost Microwave Cake Kit, a Day of the Dead Chocolate Shortbread Kit and a Gingerbread Haunted House Kit (I can’t find this online but it’s instore with all the other Halloween stuff).
If you’re looking for dairy free Halloween treats the best place to look is usually the seasonal aisle of your local supermarkets. Most of them will have various Halloween themed non-food items, plus there are usually festive marshmallows and jelly sweets. Often supermarkets will also stock Halloween themed gingerbread too, and check out the easy baking kits listed above.
Brands like Haribo always bring out a Halloween version of their products too so it’s easy to find suitable things. Look out for the Chupa Chup Spooky Candy Pizza, Chewits Vampire Fangs, Haribo Scaremix, Halloween Squashies, as well as the supermarket branded things.