With spooky season fully underway, families are gearing up for Halloween, likely planning to spend the evening participating in costume parties and trick-or-treating. Once kids collect all the candy they can carry, they’ll be digging into their favorite sweets. However, everyone involved in the festivities should proceed with caution, especially those with severe allergies who trick-or-treat under limitations. Luckily, there are more than a few ways to navigate Halloween with allergies.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) offers some great tips for those who still want to enjoy the holiday while dealing with severe allergies. If you or someone you know has children with allergies, you may want to share these tips with them.
Read Before You Eat
Parents, if your child is extremely allergic to certain ingredients, you should be checking every single label on each piece of candy. A lot of popular Halloween candies contain some of the most common allergens such as wheat, soy, eggs, milk, and peanuts.
Should there not be a label for some reason, you may want to coordinate a “sweet exchange” where you trade candies with a friend depending on each of your dietary restrictions. Also, instead of simply throwing candy away, you can deliver it to some other children that will be able to enjoy them.
Although there might not be any alarming ingredients on the label, you should be aware that most Halloween candy is made in the same factory as potentially dangerous foods. So, while your candy may not contain an allergen, it does not mean it never came into contact with one. Similarly, “fun-size” candy is made using different manufacturing processes as their larger versions, so be vigilant. Just because your child is okay when eating a full-sized Snickers bar does not mean that they’ll have the same luck with a smaller version.
Finally, as a general rule of thumb, you should always advise your child not to accept homemade treats. There are no guarantees that the ingredients used will be safe. Additionally, you should let your child know not to share their friend’s food.
While Halloween is known as a holiday strictly for candy and costumes, there are some fun alternatives that you can implement to ensure that your children have a safe night.
The first alternative that will keep your child safe while out trick-or-treating is offering non-edible trinkets they can enjoy. The Teal Pumpkin Project, an organization whose goal is to make trick-or-treating safe and fun for allergy sufferers, suggests bubbles, pencils, vampire fangs, plastic spider rings, bouncy balls, glowsticks, etc. instead of offering candy. If you want to ensure your child has access to these options while trick-or-treating, you might want to provide them for your neighbors so they can hand them out as your child visits.
If you do not want to go out on Halloween night, this last option might be better for you: instead of trick-or-treating, you can have a movie night with age-appropriate horror movies. It allows your children to get their spooky fix and you can be calm knowing that they will not be exposed to allergens.
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