Halloween is full of fun but also fright, especially for parents whose children have food allergies. As the mother of a child who is allergic to tree nuts, sesame, wheat and milk, I understand where this fear comes from. It’s important to take food allergy precautions at Halloween parties and while trick-or-treating to have a safe and fun experience for everyone in the family.
Here are a few food allergy safety tips to follow this Halloween:
- Bring epinephrine: Carry your child’s epinephrine auto-injectors while trick-or-treating, to parties, at the mall, and anywhere else there may be Halloween candy. Your epinephrine auto-injectors should be with you at all times.
- Avoid eating treats along the way: Encourage your child to wait until he/she is home before eating treats to avoid a mix-up of candy that could potentially contain food allergens.
- Inspect candy and check labels: Check the labels of all candy in your child’s collection for ingredients your child might be allergic to. You may need to research some of these items online. Put candy with unknown ingredients in a spot where your child can’t get to them – or simply throw it out to avoid potential problems.
- Bring extra treats to parties: When friends or neighbors host a Halloween bash, eat only packaged and labeled goodies that are safe for you to avoid cross-contact. Make your own allergen-free treats for the whole gang so your child won’t feel left out.
- Non-food treats: Consider passing out non-food treats such as Halloween-decorated pencils, glow necklaces or bracelets, or Halloween trinkets (spiders, rings, temporary tattoos).
I encourage each and every one of you to have a great time with your child on Halloween while keeping in mind these food allergy tips to help keep your child safe. For more information on food allergy management and best practices, please visit www.PeanutAllergyFacts.org and www. FoodAllergyAwareness.org.
Eleanor Garrow-Holding is the President and CEO of Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Connection Team (FAACT). Eleanor has worked, educated, and advocated in the food allergy community for 10 years. She was inspired to start this work after her son, Thomas, was diagnosed with life-threatening food allergies. Leading the charge at FAACT, Eleanor and the FAACT Leadership Team provide education, advocacy, awareness, and grassroots outreach needed for the food allergy community. In September 2014, Eleanor joined the National Peanut Board Food Allergy Education Advisory Council.