Avoid an Allergy Nightmare on Halloween// on Wednesday October 25, 2017
Ghosts and ghouls may not be the scariest things this Halloween season. Researchers estimate that 1 in every 13 trick-or-treaters ringing your doorbell this year will have a food allergy. For some children, even the smallest interaction with an allergen can cause anaphylaxis, a severe and potentially deadly reaction.
For parents of children with food allergies, trick-or-treating may feel like a nightmare. Prepare yourself and your community for a safe Halloween season by following these simple recommendations.
- Read the Labels – You may not think about it, but even a lollipop can contain allergens. Be sure to read each label before allowing your child to eat the treat. If the label is missing, like on homemade treats, then throw the item away.
- Go Teal – Encourage your neighborhood to join the Teal Pumpkin Project™. Launched in 2014, the Teal Pumpkin Project raises awareness of food allergies, while promoting inclusion of all trick-or-treaters by identifying homes with allergy-safe treats and non-food alternatives.
- Alternative Treats – If you’re handing out goodies this Halloween, consider giving out glow sticks, stickers, bouncy balls or other toys. These non-food treats will still be a hit with the kids, and they’re allergy-free.
- Be Sure to Ask – Remind your kids that they should always ask before eating any of their treats.
- Make It a Game – By making safety precautions a game, kids will be engaged and have another layer of fun. Explain the rules of the game: no eating candy until you are home. At home, have a contest to sort candy into a “good to eat” pile and “bad to eat pile.” If they sort correctly, they can trade in the bad candy for a prize. Consider donating the “bad” pile to someone in need or a program like Soldiers’ Angels™, which sends Halloween candy to troops overseas.
- Don’t Let Hunger Rule – Make sure you eat a good meal before you leave and carry allergen-safe snacks throughout the night. Full bellies are less likely to snack on unsafe food.
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