Halloween is a favorite holiday for many, especially children. They look forward to dressing up as their favorite character and loading their buckets with candy. While every parent should be checking their children’s candy for tampering when they return home from trick-or-treating, for parents of children with allergies, Halloween implies a much longer to-do list
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) offers some great tips for those who are worried about Halloween and its potential harm to children with allergies. If you or someone you know is concerned about the holiday, you might want to share these tips with them.
Read Before You Eat
This one might be common sense, but you should always read through the labels on each piece of candy your child collects. The most popular candies usually contain allergens such as wheat, peanuts, milk, egg, and soy.
Should you come across a situation where the ingredients are not listed on the candy label (and they cannot be found online), you can always perform a “sweet exchange” where you trade treats with a friend. Similarly, you can gather all the candy that your child cannot eat and deliver them to another child who may enjoy them.
Now, if you read a label and do not notice an allergen, remain wary because most Halloween candy is made in the same factory, meaning that there is potential for cross-contamination. Just because the candy was not explicitly made with a certain ingredient, it does not mean it did not come into contact with it. Additionally, “fun-size” candy is made with a different process than regular-sized candy. Therefore, just because your child may be able to eat a full-sized Hershey’s bar without a problem, does not mean that they can do the same with the smaller version.
Finally, you should always be cautious when allowing your child to accept homemade treats. Just as a basic rule, you should strongly advise your child not to accept homemade treats while out trick-or-treating. Similarly, they should not be sharing other children’s food.
If an allergic reaction poses too big of a risk for your child, there are some fun alternatives that you can attempt to make the holiday more enjoyable.
The first alternative you may want to try is offering non-edible goodies that can replace candy. The Teal Pumpkin Project, an initiative that champions safe trick-or-treating options for allergy sufferers, suggests objects like bouncy balls, vampire fangs, spider rings, bubbles, pencils, glow sticks, etc. To ensure that your child has these options as they go door to door, you may want to consider supplying some of your neighbors with the toys so they can hand them out as you visit.
Another way to avoid going out altogether is to have a movie night with age-appropriate scary movies. Your child gets their spooky night, and you will have control over the snacks and treats they are receiving.
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