The scariest part of the tradition of trick-or-treating at Halloween is the worry that our children who are allergic to tree nuts will come in contact with peanuts, which is the third ingredient (after sugar and chocolate) in most treats sold for kids. How do we get the scariness of the treat away from our fear and make the tradition a fun teaching opportunity?
As terrifying for children scared of other masqueraders, Halloween can be a real nightmare for the parents who are afraid their child will bite into something that will hurt them — from razor blades to peanuts.
For a child of any age, going door to door asking for treats takes social skills and manners. Aside from birthday party manners, Halloween is the most significant holiday manners-wise.
Ahead of time, read to your child “The Berenstain Bears Happy Halloween.” Then have fun role playing the knocking on the door and the script below to familiarize the child with the nuances of the Halloween tradition:
- Look for the knocker or bell and use one of those before pounding on the door or window of a residence that celebrates Halloween with a pumpkin, or other themed display.
- Be sure they ask politely, “Treat, please.” Or an older child would say, “May I please have a treat?”
- When asked who they are dressed as (when it is not obvious), the child should be prepared to say, “I’m one of the Berenstain Bears, Sister Bear.”
- When told to only pick two treats, they should only take two.
- It is polite to take the first candy closest to them. In other words, they shouldn’t scoop through the bowl to find a purple lollipop, because if there isn’t one on top the purple may have been taken.
- Have the child choose only treats that are individually wrapped and sealed in their original wrapping.
- When the child has a nut tree or other allergy, he should show the treat to his parent/caregiver for approval and place it back in the bowl, if he can’t eat it.
- When there is nothing the child likes or can eat, she should take one treat and give it to her parent so as to not hurt the little old lady’s feelings.
- Remind the child that once he’s taken the treat, he should not put it back to exchange it for a different one.
- Thank the person for the treat. If possible, by naming the sweet. “Thank you for the lollipops!”
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