Halloween is a holiday most people enjoy. Unfortunately, more and more people tend to be actually scared on October 31. The tradition of going door to door can turn into a disaster if your or your neighbors’ kids have food allergies. And what good would Halloween be without trick-or-treating? Follow our tips on how to keep the fun in and the most common allergies out of the scary holiday!
Allergic to Halloween?
First things first. Let’s take a look at the list of the foods people are most often allergic to.
Common allergens include:
- tree nuts,
Now, name a Halloween treat that does not include any of the five. It's not a task, it's a showstopper!
Consuming an allergen may result in different consequences, from mild to severe. Mild allergies reveal themselves through symptoms like:
- a rash, redness, or an itch,
- a stuffy or runny nose,
- stomach cramps, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Severe allergies may manifest themselves through anaphylaxis, a life-threatening condition that develops lightning-fast and often affects a certain body part (especially the one that came in contact with the allergen).
Anaphylaxis usually involves:
- a tightness or a lump in the throats,
- hoarseness, wheezing, or troubled breathing,
- a tingling sensation in the extremities, face, or scalp,
- dizziness and confusion.
Remember that one needn’t eat a plateful of the allergen to cause anaphylaxis; sometimes, a single bite or even a crumb is enough. If you experience or see a person displaying any of the anaphylaxis symptoms listed above, immediately use autoinjectable epinephrine and dial 911.
Safe Halloween Tips
So, we agreed: food allergies can be really dangerous. Fortunately, to avoid the danger, one needn’t avoid the good old Halloween fun! There are certain ways to make the holiday safer for kids with food allergies:
- Skip food-related activities altogether. Have fun making costumes and holding an improvised runway show, play a themed game, or hold a pumpkin carving contest.
- Accompany your food-allergic kids on their trick-or-treating venture. Double check that they have autoinjectable epinephrine on them.
- Explain to your kids’ friends or adults supervising the trick-or-treating process what your kids are allergic to and give a detailed instruction in case of an emergency.
- Teach your kids to politely refuse edible treats, homemade ones in particular.
- Avoid fun-size candy, as the ingredients they are made with may differ from the ones used for regular size candy of the same brand.
Non-Food Treat Ideas
There are dozens of cute Halloween-themed items you can purchase at a very low cost at online shops or dollar stores. The options are versatile:
- Toys: finger puppets, Halloween-styled rubber ducks, or squeakers (ask about latex allergies!); bendables and stretchy toys; porcupine balls and figurines; slinkies, yo yos and bouncy balls; tiny paratroopers or growing insects; bubbles, whistles, or whoopie cushions (ridiculous, but kids LOVE them!); maze puzzles or prisms.
- Art and craft supplies: play dough (be careful with that as it may contain wheat – a common allergen) and cookie cutters; craft sets for mask making and pumpkin decoration; stickers, stamps, and stencils.
- Stationery: styled pens, pencils, erasers, and pencil toppers; mini notepads.
- Accessories: glow necklaces, bracelets, or sticks; vampire teeth and spider rings; temporary tattoos (not a completely safe option either, though).
Trick or Treat vs. Candy or Prize
You can still hand out candy treats even if you decide to support the non-food treat initiative. To make your non-food treats even safer, places them in a separate bowl and ask the trick-or-treaters if they have food allergies to find out which bowl to offer them. Alternatively, offer kids to make their choice: candy or prize.
The most important thing about this allergy-free version of Halloween is that kids really love getting non-food treats! They are fun, they often are unique (and never loser!), they are unexpected, plus, unlike candy, most of them do not have an expiration date!
Pick your gift now!