Halloween is a special time for children across the country, but it’s also a time when children with allergies are particularly susceptible to reactions to certain foods. Picking up a small piece of candy with chocolate, nuts or gluten can throw a child into a severe allergic reaction.
Keep Children Safe on Halloween
Keep children safe from foods that trigger allergies by following a few simple safety tips.
- Consider treats other than candy. $1 gift certificates, a dime or quarter enclosed in a small envelope, stickers, silly bands, or other types of things can be substituted for candy. Think about inexpensive books, pencils, notepads and other fun things for children. But, keep in mind that very young children can choke on small toys.
- Avoid giving candy with nuts or peanut butter since many children are allergic to them and may suffer life-threatening reactions.
- Consider gluten-free treats since many children are allergic to gluten. These products are easy to find in most grocery and convenience stores.
- If there are children in the neighborhood with known allergies, prepare a special treat bag with their name on it and seal it with their goodies.
Parents or caregivers have the responsibility to evaluate and sort through trick-or-treat bags when they arrive home, whether the child has allergies or not. It makes it easier and safer for parents when everyone does their part to make Halloween a safe experience for all children.
- Children should not be allowed to open or eat any candy while trick-or-treating. It should be totally off-limits until there is time to make sure there are no potential triggers for allergies included in the treats, and to make sure they are safe to eat. Never allow children to eat opened candy and discard any candy with wrappers that appear to have been tampered with in any way.
- Read labels carefully to make sure food does not contain ingredients that will trigger allergic reactions. If in doubt, toss it out.
- Drugs can look like candy so be sure to discard any small unwrapped candies and watch for anything that looks like drugs.
- Children should not consume fresh fruit either. It’s best to throw it away because it’s difficult to tell if it is clean and safe to eat.
- Don’t allow children to eat too much candy at one time, regardless of whether or not they have any type of allergy. Enjoy a small amount of candy and make it last longer, or consider donating to a worthy cause.
Make this Halloween fun and safe for young children. Provide them with healthy options in their trick-or-treat bags, and check the contents of every child’s treat bag before they consume anything.