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Just because your child has a food allergy, it doesn’t mean that your child can’t have a safe and fun-filled Halloween. With advanced planning and some creative thinking, celebrating Halloween with your child can still be a blast.
Reading labels, staying vigilant and being mindful of alternatives to traditional Halloween revelry (and treats!), are critical for a safe and healthy Halloween for children with food allergies.
When it comes to reading labels, at Halloween it can be a challenge because the mini-sized treats don’t usually have the ingredients listed, rather the ingredients are listed in the large bag that the mini-candies come in. Also, with miniature candy, often times the ingredients are slightly off from their larger non-Halloween packaged counter parts.
Knowing that the majority of child food allergies stem from peanuts, milk, shellfish, eggs, tree nuts, wheat, soy and strawberries, have a look at the most popular candy and chocolate on the market. A vast majority of Halloween candy contains one or more of the ingredients that cause children’s food allergies.
Always stay away from any treats that contain the following:
- Chocolates (milk, eggs)
- Candy or chocolate with caramel (contains milk)
- Candy & chocolate with nuts
- Candy bars with cookie centers, like Twix and Kit-Kats (wheat)
- Licorice, Twizzlers and Tootsie Rolls (wheat)
- Any candy or chocolate that contain strawberries
Safe candy actually does exist at Halloween. Look for:
- Dots Life Savers
- Dum Dum Suckers
- Jelly Beans, Mike & Ikes
- Nerd’s and most types of gums
If you’re ultimately not up for the ensuing battle of taking candy away from your child after an evening of trick-or-treating, but don’t want to take the Halloween experience away from your child, many experts suggest that you take the time to deliver non-candy “goodie-bags” to your neighbors so they can give then to your child when she gets to their home.
Items to consider including in the goodie-bags can be simple yet totally enjoyable for your child: glow sticks, temporary tattoos, small toys, puzzles, practical joke toys, stickers etc.
While all the emphasis may be focused on keeping your child safe from dangerous treats, its important to remember that part of keeping them safe at Halloween, is to focus their attention away from the candy-filled side of this holiday. Here are some great “distractions” and alternative fun during the Halloween season:
- Focus the emphasis of the holiday on planning and creating their unique Halloween costumes
- Go all out and involve them in great Halloween decorations for the house
- Design a Halloween themed scavenger hunt -- Your child and their friends can go door-to-door in search of the scavenger hunt items instead of candy
- Throw an over-the-top hunted house party on Halloween night and invite all of your children’s friends over.
- Have your child “run” the hunted house to provide her an exciting responsibility
Regardless of how you end up spending your Halloween, for your own peace of mind always remember to carry antihistamine and epinephrine (be sure to have it at your child’s school too, especially during Halloween), and if your child doesn’t already wear one, a medical ID bracelet is mandatory for proper care in the event of an emergency.
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