As we all know, October 31st can be filled with fun and excitement as children get dressed up in their spookiest costumes, going door to door trick or treating. It is a time filled with the unknown for a child with life-threatening food allergies. For a parent, with a child suffering from these allergies, the scariest trip of them all could happen–a trip to the ER.
Here are some tips for parents that will make Halloween safe and fun for all.
1. Review and Remind. You have probably talked to your child on various occasions about their allergy list. Even if you do sound like a broken record, review that list again before they go out. Remind your child that they should not eat anything that they are unsure of and depending on how severe the allergy. Also, remind them that they should under no circumstances touch the loot just in case a piece of candy containing the allergen gets out of the wrapper or has been in a communal bowl. They should have no problems holding out their bucket or bag to accept the goods.
2. Visit houses of people you know. Family and friends will know what your child is allergic to and are more than willing to provide allergy-friendly goodies so that your child will not feel left out.
3. BYOC-Bring Your Own Candy. If you are invited to a Halloween party or get-together, offer to provide goodies and snacks that you know are allergy-safe for your child and good for others as well. The host/hostess will more than likely crown you king/queen of the night for offering to bring food to the event.
4. Make sure your Epi-Pen is on hand. Even though you and your child are allergy conscience, things happen. One year, a young man who was allergic to nuts, kissed his girlfriend who had just eaten a snickers, and unfortunately had a fatal anaphylactic reaction. Make sure that your medicine is up-to-date and on hand just in case of emergency.
5. Have your own backup stash of treats. If you are going door-to-door or to that party down the street, make sure that you have a backup stash of treats for your kiddo. Just in case there is nothing for them to eat, you don’t want them to feel left out or out of place. This is a good practice for not only Halloween, but for birthday parties and other events as well.
6. Read the label. Even if the candy has allergy warnings written on the packaging, read the entire ingredients list. Sometimes common allergens are not listed in the warning but are found elsewhere. Make sure that you are up to speed on technical names and terms for common allergen foods. Not all things are labeled equally. When in doubt, GOOGLE or better yet, just skip it all together and dip into your backup stash.
Here’s to happy, healthy, and safe trick or treating!