By Lora Stewart, MD
Halloween can be a frightening time if you or someone in your family has a food allergy. Candy with potential food allergens seems to be lurking around every corner this time of year. As a result, trick-or-treating can be a perfect disaster between the excitement, the candy and the darkness! But if you have a plan for Halloween, you can take the FRIGHT out of the NIGHT! Here are a few ideas to incorporate into your trick-or-treating plan. Be sure to discuss these points with your children before heading out to eliminate any surprises.
SAVE THE TREATS FOR HOME
Be clear from the beginning that there will be no eating while trick-or-treating. You might want to bring safe snacks from home or feed your kids prior to leaving. Do not put yourself in a position of having to read labels and make decisions in the dark and away from home.
ON THE TRICK-OR-TREAT TRAIL
If applicable, be sure to have your epinephrine auto injector with you the entire time. There are also many homes that participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project. These homes will have a teal pumpkin outside and will only offer non-food items for Halloween. Learn more at foodallergy.org
Once you are home, inspect all candy for potential allergens. Keep in mind that “Fun-sized” treats may have different labels than the normal-sized treat. Be sure to inspect all labels carefully. Your unwanted candy can be donated to several different organizations, such as those that send care packages to U.S. troops. Click here for options for donating candy.
CELEBRATE YOUR OWN WAY
Consider avoiding trick-or-treating altogether. Instead plan a new family tradition of a movie and popcorn at home, board games or even a craft night!