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East County Wednesday, Sep. 26, 2018 3 years ago

Candy combat in Lakewood Ranch area

Parents offer alternatives to traditional Halloween sweet treats.
by: Pam Eubanks Senior Editor

Lakewood Ranch resident John Annis thought his wife, Regina Morris, was crazy when she first said she wanted to scrap traditional Halloween candy and pass out juice boxes to trick-or-treaters.

It was bad enough she wanted to eliminate chocolate, but she compounded the “yuck” factor by choosing “healthy” options.

“I hated it,” Annis said.

But he went along, and when the first treat-or-treaters came by, they happily took the drinks. Their parents thought it was a great idea.

In fact, in a decade of handing out juice, they’ve had less than a handful decline. Morris said the drinks come in handy, especially for those hot Halloween nights.

Parents like Greenbrook’s Stacey Carlin are those who are grateful. Her 6-year-old daughter, Molly Burgess, has a dairy allergy she developed around age 2.

Molly loved the alternatives,  like sticky spiders or Halloween-themed rings, that neighbors had found for her in 2014. Carlin found the Teal Pumpkin Project, a national campaign through Food Allergy Research & Education to raise awareness of food allergies and promote inclusion of trick-or-treaters with allergies.

Carlin puts a Teal Pumpkin outside her home and puts allergen-free candy and tchotchkes in a separate bowl so children don’t have to worry about what they’re picking.

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