I don’t know about you, but Halloween is an exciting time for my kids, planning their costumes, decorating the house and making up treat bags for all those who visit in fancy dress! But for kids with food allergies, allergy safe trick or treating can be a daunting time for both kids and their parents.
My son is at the age where he is beginning to enjoy Halloween, however I’m finding it very difficult to explain to him that he can’t have certain foods. I’m already worrying about him wanting to eat sweets that he can’t have, and have started planning some different treats for him.
Food allergies must be taken very seriously within the community, to ensure children have a safe and fun Halloween. Many treats are off- limits for children with food allergies, so many treats and sweets come with ‘May contain’ warnings, and the tradition of handing out peanuts is a big concern for parents of allergy kids.
With preparation and good communication, Halloween can be just as much fun for kids with food allergies, however great care must be taken by allergy parents. We’ve put together a list of top tips to help you plan a safe Halloween for kids living with food allergies.
Make sure you’ve got plenty of safe treats available for your child and other allergy kids who visit. Sometimes having some sticker sheets can be a good idea to replace treats with hidden allergies.
Always avoid sweets which have no allergen labelling, it’s not worth taking risks with food allergies, if you don’t know what’s it in, remove from your child and explain that it’s not safe.
Make sure your child understands that they shouldn’t eat any treats before they return home. Give them a “no eating while trick-or-treating” rule, and this will give you plenty of time to review ingredient and allergen labels when they return home.
Make sure that you have an epinephrine auto-injector available, if prescribed. It’s always best to be prepared, and make sure the injector pen is in date.
It’s very frustrating, however often mini sweets, or bite size sweets have different ingredients and allergen claims compared with their counterparts. Always double check every label to make sure that the product is allergy safe.
Explain to your neighbours where your kid will be visiting, and perhaps even make up some small safe treat bags that they can hand out to your child.
If you feel anxious about your allergy child visiting other homes, consider having a Halloween party where you know that the food will be allergy safe. This is a great way of ensuring they have fun whilst keeping safe.
A Halloween movie night is another way of entertaining kids, and keeping them safe. Stock up on their favourite allergen free treats, and get the family together to enjoy a spooky film!
Take the opportunity to educate your child about food labelling, and make them feel safe by explaining that there are many safe allergen free treats available for them to enjoy.
If they are go trick or treating with a sibling or friends, make sure that whoever they are going out with understands about their food allergies. Alternatively, you can always accompany your child if they’re too young to understand the risks of food allergies.
There’s also some great resources available as part of the Teal Pumpkin Project, a great initiative that’s been put in place to help protect kids living with food allergies enjoy a safe and happy Halloween, you can view more and download from the below link.
We wish you and your family a safe and fun Halloween!
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