Halloween Allergy Tips
Halloween is a time when parents who have children with allergies need to be very careful. Reading labels is extremely important as some candies may have ingredients such as peanuts, tree nuts or milk that you would never assume were there. If there are no food allergies in your household it’s important to be sensitive to the food needs of your party guests and trick or treaters. Halloween is a fun holiday but when it comes to food safety and food allergies, we all need to be serious.
To assist parents, The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) has prepared a list of tips to help keep your children safe while having fun this year on Halloween.
If your child is going trick or treating, have something special ready to trade for the candy he or she can’t eat. Pass out nonfood items, such as Halloween stickers or small toys, to trick-or-treaters to promote food allergy awareness. Encourage your neighbors and friends to do this as well.
Create a “candy swap” so that allergen-containing candies can be traded for other treats such as stickers or toys.
Take the focus off of trick-or-treating by hosting a costume party that emphasizes fun instead of candy. Halloween stickers, pencils, spider rings and stamps are great alternatives for goody bags.
Provide neighbors with allergy-safe candies for your child or ask neighbors to hand out only candy with individualized labels - so kids with allergies can determine whether the treat is safe to eat or not.
Teach children to politely refuse offers of cookies and other homemade treats.
Remember that candy ingredients can vary for different sizes of the same product, such as full-size candy bars and their miniature versions, and are not always individually labeled.
Have your trick-or-treater eat dinner before going out on Halloween night, so that he or she is not tempted by hunger to eat a treat!
Make sure your child carries his or her medicines while trick-or-treating, in case a reaction occurs.
Accompany your child trick-or-treating, or, if he or she is old enough to go without an adult, have him or her go with friends who know about his or her food allergy.
As a reminder, the eight most common food allergens include, milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts (walnuts, almonds, etc.), soy, wheat, fish and shellfish. It’s best to give your trick-or-treaters a choice, or if hosting a party to have a variety of choices, you can even encourage allergic guests to prepare a treat that all can enjoy. Remember to keep packages handy, so if you have allergic guests or visitors, they are able to access ingredient lists and safely enjoy the treats you have prepared or purchased.