Have a Happy “Alternative” Halloween

by Karen Doyle

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I have a confession, Halloween terrifies me! But not because of the ghouls or the goblins but because of that awful killer combo of artificial food dyes and sugar. Its lurking around every corner, the friendly old woman who lives next store is pushing it… At school, they are having cavity prevention today while pumping your kid full of cavity causing critters in the form of a very sweet, very innocent, beautifully decorated cupcake confection… Even your very own mother has a secret stash of the “good stuff” in her coat pocket. Oh! And you must go Trick or Treating! It’s tradition and you want your kid to have this “typical” childhood experience right?

Ok, so here’s how I have kept my Angel free from the “killer combo” (the combo has caused her to have seizures)

for the past 8 Halloweens and still managed to have fun. Well, initially it was important to go Trick or Treating because my older kids were still participating in this activity at the time; so, I made it a tradition to have my Mother in law over to make my kids’ favorite chili recipe the day of Halloween. We would get the kids to eat as much good, healthy, all natural chili as we could get them to eat before commencing with the festivities. The idea was to limit candy consumption with full bellies. We’d buy organic, dye free candy for our Angel and allow her to Trick or Treat as usual but when she asked to eat her candy, we’d give her the organic stuff. Unfortunately, this candy was still full of sugar so it was better but not good. I was so glad when my older kids no longer wanted to Trick or Treat because I could ditch the candy scene altogether!

More tried and true Halloween activities to try are:

Petting zoos, hay stack rides, haunted hay rides, apple bobbing, a party at your own home that would include only allergy friendly parent approved foods and activities.  Also, local churches often offer fun alternatives to Trick or Treating,  like fall festivals, this could be a great choice but it might not be a candy free zone; here’s a link to a great article about religious friendly activities http://www.lifeway.com/Article/Fall-family-fun. If you put in a little thought and little web surfing in ahead of time, you will surely find something enjoyable to do with your family that will create lovely memories with safety in mind.

Now lets talk costumes: I needed to learn to appreciate that my daughter has some sensory issues, nothing too major but she really doesn’t enjoy scratchy materials or things on her head. And lets not even talk about anything crazy like a mask or makeup that I would expect her not to smear. A great costume for a girl could be a cheerleader; in Halloween shops they sell these in satin with an elastic waist and no buttons. I can still put a little light pink makeup on her and she can carry the pom poms when she feels like it and wear her hair any way she likes and still pull off a super cute look without ruining her costume. A boy could easily be a sports figure just by wearing his favorite player’s jersey and carrying the appropriate ball when he feels like carrying it. Any costume is fine as long as you will not be heartbroken if your child refuses to keep head pieces on, rips tales or wings off etc… Try to pick a costume where the design and fabric is very similar to clothes your child would wear in everyday life in order to keep frustration and disappointment to a minimum. I share all of this with you because I have attempted to turn my Angel into a perfect little princess many times, only to come to the realization that if she wouldn’t wear this stuff any other day, why would I think she would wear it on Halloween.

So lets keep it safe, lets keep it enjoyable and save the killer, candy combo for….Hmm… for someone you don’t like. clementinescelery2