Halloween, COVID, and Food Allergies, Oh My!


For parents of food-allergic children, Halloween can bring about a healthy dose of food fear. After all, six of the top nine food allergens—eggs, milk, peanuts, soy, tree nuts, and wheat—masquerade as brightly-colored baubles amidst piles of Halloween candy. 😫

That—combined with the COVID-19 pandemic—would have anyone spooked about Halloween.

And yet, an estimated 58% of Americans are expected to celebrate the holiday this year. For parents, it is hard not to want the holiday to feel as normal (and fun!) as possible for kids. Plans for parties and haunted house visits have been canceled. However, the majority of us still want to find a way to shirk our pandemic anxieties for the night and enjoy some good old fashioned Halloween fun.

Have no fear, your friends at Allergy Amulet are here!

A few tips and tricks to celebrate Halloween safely this year:

1. Know the Guidelines

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers traditional trick-or-treating—where children are handed treats going door-to-door—a higher risk activity. However, there are safer ways to trick-or-treat. 

If you stay socially-distanced and dole out treats without any physical interaction, trick-or-treating becomes a moderate risk activity. This can include leaving treats on your doorstep or at the end of your driveway. It can also help to coordinate plans with neighbors to ensure there are safe treats for those kiddos with food allergies.

2. Research Allergy-Friendly Candy Options

Save yourself stress by writing out a list of candy that is safe for your child, then sharing it with them and neighbors. This approach can help manage your child’s expectations when October 31st rolls around. Spokin—the popular food allergy app—provides a free Allergy-Friendly Halloween Candy Guide including mainstream candy brands that are top 8+ allergen-free. A few favorites include:

  • Charms Blow Pops

  • Jelly Belly Jellybeans

  • Nerds

  • Ring Pops

  • Skittles

  • Smarties

  • Sour Patch Kids

  • Starburst

  • Swedish Fish

3. Consider an Outdoor Alternative

An open-air neighborhood costume parade? A socially-distanced masquerade party (it makes wearing a mask, dare we say, fun?). A Hocus Pocus movie night with neighbors, cozy blankets, and lawn chairs spaced six feet apart? These outside options are likewise labeled moderate risk activities by the CDC, and make it more enjoyable for those navigating food allergies, as the events don’t revolve solely around candy.

4. Wear Your Masks (& Gloves!)

Regardless of which Halloween activities your family partakes in, data shows masks help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Pair yours with gloves to minimize exposure while reducing the risk of COVID-19 AND a potential allergic reaction. And as always, wash your hands!

5. Look For Teal Pumpkins

Started by food allergy mom Becky Basalone and popularized by the nation’s leading food allergy non-profit FARE, the Teal Pumpkin Project raises awareness about food allergies and encourages safe, non-food options for trick-or-treaters. A teal pumpkin on your doorstep serves as a symbol for everyone in the neighborhood that you offer non-food treats. What kid doesn’t love creepy spider rings, Halloween stickers, and Halloween-themed slime?!

Even better, fill a teal-painted pumpkin or bucket with non-food surprises, and set it on your stoop for a contact-free treat delivery!

We have ideas for making it a spooky stay-at-home affair too:

1. Trick-or-Treat Inside Your Home

A non-traditional Halloween is already the norm for many food allergy families. If you have young kids (ages seven and under), this option works great. Plant costumed family members or anyone in your COVID circle behind different doors in your house—think closets, bedrooms, even the garage door! When the child knocks on the door, someone pops out and hands them a treat that is safe to eat. 😋

2. Throw a Pumpkin Carving Party

The CDC considers carving and decorating pumpkins outside with neighbors and/or friends while remaining socially-distanced a lower risk activity. Set up separate tables (at least six feet apart), and when everyone’s ready, line up and light up your pumpkins for a mini parade! The best part? As the party host, you have control over which foods are served.

3. Start a New Tradition

How about a Monster Mash dance-a-thon? A scary movie marathon? Or better yet, a pumpkin-themed bake-off? When the world feels upside down, creating new traditions generates optimism and hope while creating wonderful new memories.

Regardless of how you decide to spend Halloween, eating seasonal and spooky treats is an absolute must. Below are two allergy-friendly recipes to share that we know will be loved by kids and parents alike! 

Note: Both recipes contain coconut. 

Vegan Caramel Apples (v/gf)

Makes 4 caramel apples

  • 4 apples

  • 4 popsicle sticks

  • Homemade vegan caramel sauce

  • For topping: cacao nibs, candy (like Nerds or other allergen-free options), crushed freeze-dried strawberries, sea salt flakes, shredded coconut, sprinkles, or whatever you ♥️.


  1. Wash and dry the apples thoroughly, ensuring the waxy layer is removed. Stick a popsicle stick into the center of each apple, about 1 to 2 inches deep. 

  2. Place apples on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Pour homemade caramel over the apples to coat or dip them in the caramel, turning the apple to coat. Let sit for a few minutes to harden.

  3. While the apples are resting, place each of your toppings onto a separate plate.

  4. Roll apples in your toppings of choice. Place apples in the refrigerator for another 5-10 minutes to harden, then eat!

Frozen White Chocolate Banana Ghosts (v/gf)

Makes 4 banana ghosts

  • 4 popsicle sticks

  • 2 medium-to-large ripe bananas, cut in half

  • 2 cups vegan white chocolate chips (or 8 ounces white chocolate, chopped)

  • ½ cup shredded coconut (optional)

  • Vegan dark chocolate chips, raisins, or candy eyeballs (for eyes)


  1. Place a popsicle stick into the center of each banana half, about 1 to 2 inches deep. 

  2. Melt the white chocolate according to the package instructions, either in a double boiler or in 30-second intervals in the microwave.

  3. Dip bananas into the melted white chocolate, turning bananas to coat. Place on a parchment-lined plate. Sprinkle with shredded coconut, if desired, and place chocolate chips (or sub raisins or candy eyeballs) onto the bananas for the eyes and mouth.

  4. Place in the freezer for at least three hours, or until frozen. Eat!

From our Allergy Amulet family to yours, we hope you have a spooky and fun Halloween!

– Holly and the Allergy Amulet Team 

COVID-19, Holidays, Health & Wellness, Recipes, Food Allergy Awareness, Kids and Food Allergies, Nut Allergies, Outings + Food Allergies, Special Dietary Needs, Teens and Food AllergiesHolly WhittlefHalloween, food allergies, COVID-19, holidays with food allergies, health and wellness, safety with food allergies, trick-or-treat, safe snacks for food allergies, recipes for people with food allergiesComment

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