We all look forward to spending time with family and friends during the holidays. For those of us managing food allergies, we may feel tense about the upcoming challenges. From finding substitutions for recipes to family members who do not understand the need to be cautious, going home for the holidays may come with added stress.
We turned to FAAM members and followers on social media and asked how they decrease holiday stress and manage food allergies over the holidays. They shared the following tips:
by Kelley Barnett
Our fourth year of hosting a trunk-or-treat just for our Mid-South food allergy community was just as much fun as our first! This event grows each year and is a fun time for the lil' goblins and their parents. After a costume parade to show off their cool costumes, the children trick-or-treat for non-food items at trunks decorated by parents and grandparents. We then move inside to play festival games and earn more non-food prizes. What stood out the most to me was a group of parents just hanging out in the middle of the room, they were talking to each other and their children were going through the games again without them. This may not seem unusual for most people, but it is not typical for our food allergy families at a food-centered event. But this safe, food-free event allowed both parents and children time to relax and enjoy the holiday. That is exactly why we work hard to make sure we continue to serve our community in such an important way. We are already looking forward to next year!
I am very thankful to our volunteers who arrived early, worked the event, and stayed late to make sure our children felt included this Halloween; to Food Allergy Research & Education for helping sponsor this event; to Blake Billups, DDS for donating non-food items; and to the Bartlett Fire and Police Departments for participating. Thank you all for allowing our children to enjoy a fun, holiday tradition in a safe way! Click here for information on FARE's Teal Pumpkin Project.
If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me how to "do the Teal Pumpkin Project", I would be rich! I am excited to share with you how easy and affordable it is to include ALL children on Halloween. Join the Food Allergy Alliance of the Mid-South in turning the Mid-South teal this Halloween!
Our annual food-free egg hunt was hoppin' this year! Our little bunnies enjoyed decorating eggs (not real ones, but they look like it!), taking photos with Bunny, and watching The Magnificent Magic Show. For the grand finale, they hopped over to the egg hunt where they found plenty of eggs with non-food treasures inside. A food-free events means the children keep everything they find. This is a wonderful feeling for parents of children with food allergies - no digging to find what is deemed "safe" and no disappointed faces when the child cannot keep the candy they found because it contained their allergens. Parents also hunted for eggs to win some eggstra special prizes!
We send a huge THANK YOU to our sponsors and volunteers for making this special event happen. We could not have done it without you! The hearts of our volunteers, Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), Ms. Rainbow, Memphis Zoo and Kendra Scott-Saddle Creek are the reason our children had huge smiles and felt included. Our events are fun, there is no doubt about that! They also serve a greater purpose of supporting our local food allergy community, encouraging fellowship among members and including our food allergy FAAMilies in special traditions. THANK YOU for helping us make that happen!
Egg hunts are right around the corner! Check out last year's Spring has Sprung blog post full of ideas for dyeable "eggs", safe for those with egg allergies, and ways to make your egg hunt fun for everyone.
For additional resources, hop over to FAAM's Easter & Passover board on Pinterest.
Food for Thought is the blog for the Food Allergy Alliance of the MidSouth. FAAM's mission is to provide food allergy support, education, advocacy, fellowship & fun for Memphis, TN and surrounding areas.
If you have a medical emergency, call 911 immediately and follow up with a physician.