Halloween is a fun and exciting time for kids—and can be for those with food allergies too, provided you take a few precautions.
Before heading out
In addition to the usual safety precautions, it is important to give your child clear instructions when they go trick-or-treating:
- Don’t eat any candy you get when trick-or-treating.
- Don’t accept any unpackaged or homemade foods.
- Look for homes with a teal or blue-colored pumpkin, which indicates there are non-food treats on offer, e.g., glow sticks, pencils, stickers, etc.
Remember to bring along an epinephrine auto-injector, and make sure the accompanying adult recognizes the symptoms of an allergic reaction and knows how to use the auto-injector.
For older kids who carry their own auto-injector, make sure their costume doesn’t make it hard to reach. It may be wise to provide your child with a cellphone so they can call 911 in an emergency.
When they get home
Depending on your child’s specific allergies, they may be able to keep certain candies. If this is the case, sit down and sort the candy with them.
If your child cannot eat any candy, why not treat them to a toy or book instead? For young children, you could make it a surprise, for example “The pumpkin fairy came to collect your candy last night and look what she left you!” For older kids, you could let them choose their special treat themselves.
The candy you don’t keep can be donated to a charitable organization or to the pediatric ward of your local hospital.
Organize a party at home instead of going trick-or-treating
Inviting your child’s friends to a Halloween party at your home is another way to ensure your child is not exposed to candy and foods that may be dangerous for them.