A Food-Free Halloween? You Bet!
In an effort to take the focus off of food and take the fear out of Halloween, my local anaphylaxis support group has organized food-free Halloween parties for the past few years. Yup, you read that right.
A Halloween party with no food at all. And what’s more, this is a big hit with the kids.
Here are a few things to consider if you’re thinking of throwing your own food-free (and therefore much less scary!) Halloween party.
If your home is large enough to accommodate the group, perfect. But if you are arranging a larger party, then inquire at the local school board about community use of schools. Schools often rent out space such as gymnasiums to the community. My experience has been that they won’t rent space for private parties, but they will rent space for peer meetings, and if you’re getting a support group together and there’s no food, you can definitely argue that your gathering is indeed a meeting.
A true allergy-aware party will be latex-free, so forget the balloons and head to the local dollar store. There you will find tons of inexpensive decorations, from wall clings that give you a dungeon atmosphere to tree silhouettes that can be the inspiration for a cemetery theme. Paint cardboard boxes to look like tombstones. (Think of your guests, though – nothing too spooky for the 6 and under crowd!)
We opt to serve nothing but water since members of our large group have allergies to all priority allergens and many others. Large containers of water are less expensive and more environmentally friendly than smaller containers. Be sure to have markers on hand to label everyone’s cup.
For small children, cover a table with craft paper and lay out an assortment of craft items such as stickers, foam shapes, pom-poms, markers, crayons and glue sticks. This gives the little ones something to do while they check out each other’s costumes and EpiPen belts.
Older kids might like to watch a scary movie, dance or play games.
We’ve had great success with games such as:
Zombie Tag: One person is the zombie and as s/he claims more victims, they too become zombies. This continues until there is only one human left.
Eyeball and Spoon Race: In the weeks leading up to Halloween, it’s easy to find small balls that look like eyeballs. Or, you can color ping-pong balls to look like eyes.
Wrap A Mummy (or Daddy): Participants in groups wrap willing adults in toilet paper. The ‘mummies’ then race to the finish line and depending on how difficult you want to make it, they can be asked to create something at the finish line, such as to build a skeleton out of paper bones or construct a jack-o-lantern.
Next: Halloween Wands and Loot Bags