Halloween can be a scary time for parents of children with food allergies. Allergens are everywhere – not just in those tiny “fun-sized” candy wrappers, but on the hands and faces of other children who nibbling candy as they go door to door.
Yet kids with food allergies need to participate in normal kid activities. It’s our job as parents and caregivers to make being a kid safe for them.
Here’s how to keep your child with food allergies safe while Trick-or-Treating this Halloween:
1. Be prepared: pack a safety kit
Carry your child's epinephrine autoinjector (EpiPen). Make sure your child has his or her medical ID bracelet on.
Carry wet wipes and wipe your hands every once in a while. Candy wrappers rip, and even the outside of wrappers can be coated with peanut oil and cause a contact reaction.
2. Check ingredients of face paint or makeup
If your child's costume calls for face paint or makeup - beware! Some face paints may contain common allergens such as soy or nut oils. Check ingredients before painting your child's skin.
3. Research candy-free trick-or-treat locations
Some malls, health organizations, or local libraries now host candy-free trick-or-treat nights.
4. Hand out allergy-friendly treats
Kids are excited to get stickers, plastic bracelets, or other non-food items in their trick-or-treat bags. Parents love the lack of sugar. See our list of nine allergy-safe treats for ideas of inexpensive items for the trick-or-treat bowl.
5. Stock the pond
6. Institute a candy buyback program
Purchase your child's candy at a set price per piece. For young children, get a roll of dimes or quarters so you can trade a coin for each piece of candy. (Beware! This strategy can quickly get expensive for parents!)
7. Welcome the candy fairy to your house
Instead of parents buying their candy, children leave candy on their front steps and the candy fairy will leave them small gifts of art supplies, beautiful rocks, or tiny toys. Children discover the gifts the next morning, for extended Halloween fun.