three million children across the United States have food allergies. Being in control of your children’s diet is an ongoing and sometimes daunting task of reading food labels and asking questions. Luckily, foods and restaurants have warning labels about food allergies on or near their nutrition labels.
Halloween doesn’t have to be scary if your child has food allergies. Take some simple steps this trick-or-treat season to control what foods your children come in contact with and may try to eat.
The first tip is to decide if you even want to go trick-or-treating or attend parties. Situations when you, as a parent, are not in control of the food your children may consume are the scariest for parents of food allergic children. So the simple solution is to remove any instances where you, yourself, are not in control of your child’s food intake.
That being said, you can still enjoy everything that Halloween has to offer. Instead of trick-or-treating out in public, host a party amongst your family and close friends who already understand the dietary restrictions and won’t mind alternative foods to consume.
Another idea is to not serve food at a Halloween party you may host. Just have activities and fun games with everyone dressed up in their costumes and serve food after the fact to just your family. Let everyone know that there won’t be food at the party who attends that way they can decide if that is going to be an issue or not.
If you decide to go trick-or-treating, try to feed your family before you go that way there is a less chance of consuming sugary or nutty sweets.
During trick-or-treating, hold on to your child’s trick or treat bag that has the huge stash of candy and give them a separate bag with which to approach candy givers. Every time your child comes back to you, empty his or her bag into the larger bag that you carry. This way you don’t have to worry about your child eating candy in the midst of the event.
After trick-or-treating, make sure your child is only allowed to eat candy that is apropos to the dietary restrictions due to the food allergy. I can say for certain that most candy companies have machinery that process nuts, even though the candy you have in your hand may not have nuts. It is vital that you read ingredient and food allergy warning labels carefully.
You can still have alternative foods for Halloween celebrations that don’t involve normal candy. Try dry roasted pumpkin seeds instead of peanuts. Make your own candied apples or caramel apples without nuts.
One tip to follow for sure is to be as involved in your children’s Halloween activities as possible. Volunteer at your children’s school to help out with their Halloween activities if candy and sweets will be there. Attend any parties your children go to and make sure your children know either to not eat food offered to them or keep a close watch what your kids are doing at Halloween parties whether at school or a friend’s house.
Instead of actually having a Halloween celebration at all, why not sit down to a formal harvest dinner on October 31st as an alternative to any Halloween gathering whatsoever. It is still appropriate to have an actual celebration on that day, even if it is not what it says on the wall calendar.