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It’s a Scary Time of Year

Halloween is meant to be a scary time of year. But for parents of children with dysphagia, it can be an especially frightening time of year. To kids, Halloween is the one day of the year where they are encouraged to go door-to-door asking adults for as much candy as they can carry.

Unfortunately, for children who experience difficulty swallowing, eating candy may pose a serious danger, such as choking. For many children, swallowing disorders are invisible to others. You cannot necessarily tell that someone has difficulty swallowing just by looking at him. Even if it were visible, chances are it would be hidden by his Halloween costume.

While you may not know if a child who is trick-or-treating at your home can or cannot eat the candy you hand out, you may consider adding alternative, non-edible, non-expensive treats to your candy bowl. Below are ideas of items that all kids can safely enjoy.

  • Bubbles
  • Glow Sticks
  • Stickers
  • Pencils
  • Temporary Tattoos (Halloween themed)
  • Whistles (parents love these!)
  • Toy Cars
  • Plastic Vampire Fangs
  • Mini Play-Doh
  • Bouncy Balls
  • Mini Nail Polish
  • Mini Slinkys
  • Halloween-Themed Erasers
  • Mini Rubber Stamps
  • Spider Rings
  • Glow-In-The-Dark Band-Aids

You may have heard of the Teal Pumpkin Project®, an initiative from the Food & Allergy Research & Education organization, whose goal is to promote inclusion for trick-or-treaters with food allergies or other conditions. For more information: Click Here

Some families in our community may not go door-to-door for trick-or-treating. Below is a list of fun Halloween activities that don’t require leaving your home.

  • Ghost stories in the dark
  • Spooky scavenger hunt
  • Halloween bingo
  • Scary movie marathon
  • Virtual costume contest
  • Carve pumpkins

If you are parent of a child with dysphagia, please feel free to share any ideas or comments with us!