Halloween is usually a fun day filled with costumes, candy, haunted houses, and scary movies. While this year may look a bit different for most kids, parents of children with food allergies know that Halloween is always a challenging holiday. Common allergens, such as peanuts, tree nuts, milk and eggs are often ingredients found in Halloween treats, whether they choose to enjoy trick-or-treating or some socially-distanced fun within their community. Some children may experience symptoms such as a rash, tingling or itchy mouth, and swelling of the lips. However, other children may experience a more frightening reaction, known as anaphylaxis.
Here are some tricks that will make Halloween fun and safe for your children with food allergies.
Set Expectations in Advance
Whether your child goes trick-or-treating or not, it is important to always remind them that they may not be able to eat all of the candy they get during Halloween. Setting these expectations in advance will make for a smooth night when you may have to take away some candy they received that night.
If you choose to allow your child to trick-or-treat freely, let them know that he or she will not be allowed to eat any treats without you checking the label and approving it first.
Read Labels Carefully
It is crucial that you read every label of every product in your child’s candy bag carefully. Just because your child can eat a regular-sized candy bar without a reaction, doesn’t mean the smaller version of candy is the same. Different sizes of the same product may contain different ingredients. Play it safe and read the ingredients list every time, even in products you typically consider “safe.”
Have Pre-Approved Candy (or Food) Ready to Go
The night before Halloween, try to find some candy options that are safe for your child to have. If a majority of their candy contains ingredients they cannot have, having pre-approved candy will make it easier to trade with them so they can still enjoy candy on Halloween night.
Keep in mind that Halloween doesn’t have to be just about candy. You can make halloween-themed food at your home that your child can enjoy. Check out these Halloween-themed recipes!
Even though you had a conversation with your child about staying safe and not eating whatever candy they want from their bag until they get home, it is important to still bring their epinephrine injector wherever you go in case of an emergency.
If you decide to take your children trick-or-treating this Halloween, remember to keep social distancing practices in mind to keep everyone safe, and don’t forget to wash your hands frequently while out, especially before digging into candy.
If you suspect that you or your child may have a food allergy, don’t wait for an emergency to get tested. Schedule your allergy test today with Northeast Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology by calling 978-230-0010.