October 22, 2015
Despite all the treats, Halloween can be a tricky night for some families, particularly those with children who have allergies or who are trying to be healthy.
According to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology (AAAA), approximately 8 percent of children have a food allergy, and 38.7 percent of those children have a history of severe reactions. And, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), childhood obesity has more than doubled in children over the past 30 years and quadrupled in adolescents in the same time, making candy on Halloween an issue for more and more families.
Some of these children with allergies or obesity likely already go to your pharmacy, and offering options for them on Halloween is another way to serve this patient demographic. And, providing a candy-free spot to have fun on what can be a challenging night of the year might just get new patients coming back to your pharmacy.
Here are a few ideas for how your pharmacy can help your young patients who can’t trick-or-treat have a fun Halloween.
To help patients with allergies feel welcome, your pharmacy can participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project from the Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), a nonprofit organization that works on behalf of Americans with food allergies.
FARE appointed teal pumpkins as a symbol to designate safe places for kids with food allergies to trick-or-treat during Halloween.
Participating homes or businesses are asked to paint a pumpkin teal and place it outside their door to let families with food allergies know that this location has non-food treats for trick-or-treaters.
Place your pharmacy’s teal pumpkin outside before Halloween, so patients will see it ahead of time and know it’s a safe place to bring their kids. And, have a sign near your pharmacy counter encouraging patients to ask you about your teal pumpkin so patients who are unfamiliar with the project can learn what your pharmacy is doing to make Halloween fun for all kids.
Give each trick-or-treater who visits your pharmacy a non-candy treat.
You can hand out stickers, Halloween-themed pencils and pens, or cups decorated like various monsters. Or, consider handing out Halloween-themed bandages that are fun and pharmacy themed. You can also hand out Halloween-themed reusable bags with your pharmacy’s brand and information that kids can use to collect treats that night and parents can use for shopping in the future.
These treats are safe for all trick-or-treaters and will make kids with allergies feel welcome at your pharmacy.
Instead of handing out candy to trick-or-treaters, set up games for them to play when they stop by your pharmacy.
Consider creating a Halloween-themed corn hole game by decorating beanbags to look like spiders with a few black pipe cleaners. Kids can try to toss the spiders into the hole, which you can make look like the center of the cobweb with some black electrical tape.
Or, create a Halloween-themed bowling set by painting empty 2-liter bottles white with ghostly faces. Let kids throw a ‘pumpkin’ (which can just be an orange ball) to knock down the ghostly bottles.
These games are fun and safe for kids of all ages. Plus, they can be used year after year.
Skip the mess, candy or other allergy-prone treats and let kids decorate a mini pumpkin to celebrate Halloween.
Decorating pumpkins with stickers, paint or ribbon is a fun and simple way to celebrate. Plus, decorating rather than carving means no sharp tools and there’s no mess from gutting the pumpkins.
Consider displaying the pumpkins at your pharmacy, and letting trick-or-treaters and patients vote on their favorite. Participants will encourage their friends and family to visit your pharmacy to vote for their pumpkin, which can increase foot traffic in your pharmacy and get new potential patients in the door.
Then, give the winner a small prize and let everyone take the pumpkins they decorated home.
Not only can your pharmacy be a safe place for allergy-prone trick-or-treaters, but you can also sell allergy-safe Halloween treats for patients to hand out to their trick-or-treaters.
Stock sugar-free, gluten-free and regular full-sized candy bars in your pharmacy, and consider stocking non-candy Halloween alternatives like pens, colored pencils or stickers, too.
Also, if you carry cosmetics, consider setting up an end cap display with dark, spooky shades or allergy-free cosmetic products that patients can use for their Halloween costumes. Makeup remover, cotton swabs and hairspray products are must-haves for Halloween costumes and clean up. Offering allergen-free and sensitive skin-friendly products whenever possible will help patients who want to participate in Halloween, but also take care of their health.
Make Halloween the start of a great season in your pharmacy.