Halloween is a night for costumes and candy, but for kids with severe food allergies, it’s tough to enjoy it with everyone else. One in 13 children under the age of 18 are affected by food allergies, with minor or major reactions to milk, flour, peanuts or other tree nuts, which are found in many popular Halloween candy. How can you keep your kids safe but also let them enjoy Halloween with the rest of their friends?
- Bring safe snacks. Trick-or-treaters get hungry running from house to house, so bring along some safe snacks for your little ghoul. Packing a pocket full of Oreos or Twizzlers will let your child fuel up on the go and keep them from digging into their trick or treat bags before you’ve had a chance to check all the labels.
- Bring medications. Whether trick or treating in the neighborhood or attending a Halloween party, bring along all of your child’s medications just in case. That means an epinephrine auto-injector, hand wipes and anything else you might need to keep your child safe.
- Check food labels. Before you let your child dig into their Halloween haul, check the food labels on everything they’ve collected to be sure it’s safe. Most labels are straightforward, but be careful for treats that seem in the clear like Nerds, which may contain wheat and eggs or Laffy Taffy, which contains egg.
- Swap Halloween candy at home. Once you get home, sort the candy and replace any unsafe treats with pre-purchased allergen-safe goodies. Another option is to replace unsafe candy with non-food items like stickers, books, small toys or money. That way your child still has a big bag of goodies that you know is safe.
- Win “Parent of the Year.” Go around the neighborhood before trick or treating and provide your neighbors with a suitably safe treats and a secret password that your child will speak once they show up in costume. Then, when your child rings the bell and gives the secret password, your neighbors will know to give them the safe treat rather than anything that your child might be allergic to. It takes the worry out of unsafe food and includes your child on a secret game the entire night.
- Make Halloween parties safe. For school and neighborhood Halloween parties, be sure to help as much as possible to make it a safe event for your child. Offer to donate safe snacks that your child and their friends can enjoy, and talk to the party planner ahead of time to help in any way to make it a safe environment for anyone with food allergies. Party planners love help!
Halloween should be fun for everyone, no matter their allergies. Stay safe, have fun and Happy Halloween!