One Connecticut family is telling neighbors to hand out vegetables and healthy snacks, rather than traditional Halloween candy, this year and there are mixed reactions in the community.
Bright orange posters have gone up in one community near Lincoln Elementary School in New Britain urging residents to give trick-or-treaters carrots, or treats that have no nuts, gluten or dairy.
“My son has severe allergies and comes home every year devastated that he can’t eat any candy he’s collected at your homes,” the note says. “Don’t exclude my child, or any other child from the fun.”
Then, the parent made some suggestions on what to hand out: carrot sticks, Smarties, Necco Wafers, Lifesavers, Brach’s lemon drops and raisins – but not Raisinettes.
Residents along Victoria Drive have mixed reactions about the requests placed on display in the neighborhood. Some said they appreciate getting a notice that a child has allergies, while others don’t plan to change what they offer.
"I think it's a good idea. It's nice that whoever that family is that they're kind of making the neighborhood aware of their son's allergies," Jennifer Dreher, of New Britain, said.
Dave Keating said Halloween is the one time of year children can have treats and his family does not plan to change what they will hand out.
“I tend to think that children will not come to a house that is serving broccoli and celery,” Keating said. “I think Halloween is an excuse to get away from that. So I think they will favor those that have sugar.”
Some neighbors said children who don’t want the healthier snacks, like vegetables, might just leave them on the lawn.
“You can give out apples, fruit. Oranges would be fine. My wife would probably like to give out something wholesome and nutritious, but certainly not a vegetable,” Craig Johnson, of New Britain, said.
He added that the responsibility shouldn't fall all on neighbors.
“We went through our kid’s food and made sure there weren’t any hazardous items or stuff we didn’t want them to eat, so we observed what they were doing and took care of it ourselves as parents,” he said.
Registered dieticians at Connecticut Children's Medical Center added that people can also give away non-food items, including pencils, stickers or little cars, but said the responsibility is ultimately up to each parent to check and ensure their child's treats are safe to eat.
If you are giving away safe treats, you can paint a pumpkin teal and put it out so parents know, according to dieticians.