Posted: October 30, 2013 at 2:29 a.m.

DEAR HELOISE: I am an emergency-room nurse. I would like to inform all of your readers to buy all peanut-free treats to offer at Halloween or at any party given in your home, church function or other gathering for adults and children. Thereis no shortage of peanut-free food products, and it is the only way to be 100 percent sure that you do not cause a death.

Remember when you were a kid? Children returned home from trick-or-treating and it was common to “trade” treats with siblings or neighbor children. Hundreds of people die from food allergies per year, and many are from peanut products.

  • Maggie M. in Ohio

DEAR READER: Thank you for a very important reminder. Parents, watch out, especially if your child has peanut allergies.

DEAR HELOISE: We buy raisins in the 20-ounce box, which has no liner. They tended to dry out toward the bottom of the box until I started doing this: Cut the rim off the plastic lid and use this tight fitting cover inside the next box you buy, pressing down to keep the air out.When the product nears the bottom, you might have to use a fork to take out this inner “cover.” It works for round or square boxes. I keep one of each on hand and throw them into the dishwasher between uses.

  • Wanda A., Hickory, N.C.

DEAR READER: Clever! Here’s a hint: Put the whole box in a large, plastic zippered bag, or pour the raisins into the bag and then put the bag into the box.

DEAR HELOISE: One of my favorite things to do for my kids is make different-colored pancakes. For Halloween, I mix red and yellow coloring to make them pumpkin-colored. Not only do the kids get into the spirit, but this adds variation to our morning routine. At Christmas, the kids really enjoy red and green mini pancakes!

  • Jenny L. in Indiana

DEAR HELOISE: A long neck wine bottle is just right for watering hanging baskets.

  • John P. in Indiana

DEAR HELOISE: Here is a hint for celery leaves: I use them in place of fresh parsley. You can add the chopped leaves to homemade salsa or soups and stews.

  • Samantha Q. in New York

Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000; fax to (210) 435-6473; or email

Food, Pages 36 on 10/30/2013