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How Can My Food-Allergic Child Stay Safe on Halloween?

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Updated May 12, 2013

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Question: How Can My Food-Allergic Child Stay Safe on Halloween?
Answer: Halloween night offers an opportunity for children to have a fun time trick-or-treating or attending Halloween parties. Many of these young children suffer from various food allergies that could present a serious problem if the wrong type of food is eaten accidentally. Since Halloween treats, especially chocolate and baked goods, may contain common food allergens such as peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, wheat, and soy, children with food allergies need to take extra precautions on Halloween night.

First, make sure that your child has their injectable epinephrine immediately available at all times on Halloween night. For younger children, this would best be carried by a parent or other responsible adult who is familiar with the child’s medical condition and how to administer the epinephrine if needed. Consider having your child wear a Medic-Alert bracelet or other form of identification, which describes their food allergies and the fact that they use injected epinephrine as treatment.

Next, make sure that you examine any treat for possible food allergens before your child eats it. Read ingredient lists on the side of packaged food to ensure that it doesn’t contain the food to which your child has an allergy. If in doubt, or if you don’t know what a homemade treat contains, don’t let your child eat it. Consider feeding your child a meal (and a treat) before leaving for trick-or-treating or before going to a Halloween party, so that your child isn’t as hungry and won’t be as tempted to “sneak a treat” without asking you first.

Lastly, consider having a “candy swap” with your child’s siblings or friends so that treats that your child can’t eat can be traded for treats that they can eat. Also consider asking friends and neighbors to give out treats that don’t contain the food to which your child is allergic, or better yet, to give out non-food prizes such as stickers, pencils, or coins.

Learn more about being prepared to treat food allergies.

Source:

Halloween Fun for Children with Food Allergies. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Website. Accessed October 14, 2009.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this site is for educational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for personal care by a licensed physician. Please see your physician for diagnosis and treatment of any concerning symptoms or medical condition.

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