Halloween can be a time of nightmares for parents of children with food allergies. Not only is there Trick-or-Treating candy to sort through, but there are parties and festivities all month that often include candies and baked goods.
In order to make the most of the season for your food allergy kids and all others, follow a few simple tips to make a safe Halloween night.
What they wear
Aside from the candy, costumes are the best part of this holiday. Who doesn’t love dressing up as their favorite book or movie character, or as a creature out of a fantasy? Halloween is one of the few times of the year that I do a craft project for the kids by making their costumes. My little one loves to wear them even after Halloween is long gone.
If you are headed out to a party or down the neighborhood streets, chances are your kids are going to want to eat some sweets while they’re out. Even if you have a steadfast “no” rule, you will want to carry your epinephrine auto-injector just in case. Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) suggests you think about where you or your child will carry the pens, and ultimately, how the costume will affect your ability to give a dose.
Where you go
This is the second year that FARE is organizing the Teal Pumpkin project where families can sign up to offer non-food treats so that kids with food allergies don’t feel left out. Families paint a pumpkin with teal paint and place it outside their door to signify the allergy-safe prizes. FARE has a map of all the teal pumpkin homes on their website so you can plan your route.
How to keep them safe
For all kids—those with and without food allergies—trick-or-treating can be a huge excitement and energy boost. My own kids have trouble listening to the rules when they’re in the door to door rush. So start out by setting ground rules before you even set out. Here are just a few you might consider:
- Stay with the adults/group—there’s always one kid who wants to run ahead and be the first at the door.
- Use your flashlights—even if you go out during dusk and there’s still light enough for you to see, carrying a flashlight will help drivers see you better
- Cross streets carefully—not everyone is out trick-or-treating. People without kids might be returning from work right when you’re roaming the neighborhood
- Wait to eat sweets—this is probably the hardest rule for kiddos to abide, but it’s still a good one to enforce so that you can check the candies for unwrapped pieces and those with allergens. Check out a list of allergy-friendly Halloween treats.
- Wear your medical ID—especially if you have one of those runners—medical IDs for kids helps identify them and any allergies or medical conditions they may have.
Don’t forget to have fun!