It’s about to be that time again when we can all dress up as our favorite characters and go out hunting for our favorite sweets. When I was younger, I would wait patiently for my mother to look through my candy for opened wrappers and expired sweets before I could dig in. It turns out I had nothing to worry about, but other children I knew found the holiday much more difficult to deal with due to their allergies.
If you or someone you know has children that suffer from severe allergies, you might want to share these tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) so they can enjoy the fun with no worries.
Read Before You Eat
If your child suffers from severe allergies, it is strongly recommended that you read through each label on every piece of candy they collect. Popular Halloween candy is known to contain some of the most common allergens, such as wheat, eggs, soy, milk, and peanuts.
If there happens to be candy without labels, you may want to coordinate a “sweet exchange” with some friends to trade any potentially dangerous treats with others. Similarly, to avoid being wasteful, you can gather up all of the candy your child cannot eat and deliver it to a child who can enjoy them. Additionally, keep in mind that if a label isn’t found on the smaller candies, they can usually be looked up online.
Although a label may not explicitly state an ingredient, you should be aware that many of the most common Halloween candies (such as Hershey’s chocolates) are made in the same facilities. So, while candy may not have been made with a dangerous ingredient, it may have come into contact with it through cross-contamination. Furthermore, you should be wary of “fun-size” candy. They are created using different manufacturing processes than their regular-sized counterparts, so while your child might be okay eating a full-sized candy bar, the smaller version may not be so safe. Proceed with caution.
Finally, you should always advise your child not to accept homemade treats. Because kitchen-crafted goodies don’t come with nutrition labels or health codes, there is no guarantee that the ingredients or processes used will be safe for them. Similarly, you should tell your child not to share other children’s food.
Although Halloween is mostly known for costumes and candy, there are some fun alternatives you can implement if you are worried about your child’s allergies.
The first alternative that allows your child to go out trick-or-treating and remain safe is to provide non-edible goodies. The Teal Pumpkin Project, an organization that aims to make trick-or-treating fun and safe for allergy sufferers, suggests plastic spider rings, bubbles, bouncy balls, vampire fangs, glowsticks, pencils, etc. If you want to make sure that your child has these options, you should consider supplying your neighbors with these trinkets so they can hand them out to your child as they visit.
If you want to avoid going out entirely, this last alternative might be a good option for you. Instead of taking the kids trick-or-treating, you can host a movie night where you watch age-appropriate horror movies and indulge in curated treats. It allows the children to get their Halloween fix, and you can remain calm knowing your children are safe.
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