Trick or treatment: 7 strategies for a safe Halloween

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Group of Children in Costume for Halloween With Woman Giving Candy

Halloween brings a ton of good ol’ fun to our children. However, if you have a child with food or environmental allergies, Halloween can seem a bit, well, tricky. It is essential to keep safety in mind and have a thought-out prevention plan in place to allow for a fun-filled, yet safe Halloween. Accidental exposure to foods or other allergy triggers can lead to a variety of unwanted allergic symptoms. Here are some tips to keep your Halloween allergy-free:

  1. Carry proper medications: Ensure that your child has his/her allergy medications as well as an epinephrine autoinjector while trick-or-treating, in the case of an emergency. An epinephrine auto-injector is used to treat anaphylaxis, which occurs when the allergic swelling is so bad that the throat closes. It’s important to seek medical attention following the use of an epi-pen. Common allergy triggers for this condition include insect bites or stings, exercise, foods and medications. The risk factors for anaphylaxis increase during outdoor activities, due to outdoor allergy triggers and physical activity, so trick-or-treating is an essential time to be prepared. 
  2. Snack before you go: Give your child a snack or dinner before trick-or-treating to reduce the temptation for candy, before you’ve had a chance to properly inspect it. 
  3. Be a label detective: Do not let your child eat any treats, snacks or candies that do not have a clearly written list of ingredients. This will prevent accidental exposure to a food allergen.
  4. Trick-or-treat with snacks: Bring some pre-selected safe treats for trick-or-treating nights, and prepare a container filled with safe treats for your trick-or-treaters at home. When they return from trick-or-treating, swap out any candy you know is unsafe. That way you won’t be stealing candy from your baby.
  5. Spread the allergy-free goodies: If you know your child has a serious food allergy, purchase allergen-free snacks, candies, and other goodies suitable for your children in advance, then drop off the candy with neighbors. You can also purchase non-food items such as stickers or child-safe toys in lieu of candies and snacks.
  6. Talk with other parents: Accompanying your child while trick-or-treating is ideal, but if you can’t be there, clearly communicate food limitations to parents of your child’s friends. Also teach your child how to politely say “no” if a food or candy is given to him without proper labeling and packaging.
  7. Look out for teal pumpkins: You may have noticed teal pumpkins decorating your neighbors’ porches this month, and despite what you may think it’s not a part of some new style trend. Launched last Halloween, the Teal Pumpkin Project is a campaign encouraging people to raise awareness for food allergies by providing non-food treats for trick-or-treaters. Participants are asked to paint a pumpkin teal, and place it in front of their house along with a sign to indicate they have non-food treats available.

Although these measures can help you and your child have an allergy-free Halloween, your child should first be allergy tested to discover his/her allergy triggers. This allows your doctor to create a proper course of treatment. Make an appointment today with Dr. Pasha to learn about your child’s treatment options!