11 Tips For Navigating Halloween If You Have a Child With Allergies
Halloween is full of the unknown — kids behind character masks, motion-activated decorations that scare the crap out of you as you walk up to a house, and for allergy moms, the mystery of what's in the candy their child collects. The risk of a child eating an allergen-laden treat in the chaos of trick-or-treating is likely going to be a little higher than the everyday risk, but there are a few ways to ensure their safety throughout All Hallows' Eve.
Read through for 11 ways to make sure Halloween is a safe night for your child with allergies.
Go over your child's allergies with them before trick-or-treating.
Depending on their age and how long they've had an allergy, you've probably talked to them about how to handle their situation many times before. Have a quick chat before trick-or-treating to emphasize how important it is that they don't eat anything they know is unsafe, or anything that they're unsure of.
If their allergy is severe, remind them not to touch the candy.
If your child's allergy is so serious that even touching a piece of candy containing an allergen could potentially cause a reaction, remind them to hold out their candy bucket to accept a piece rather than grabbing one themselves (just in case something becomes unwrapped in the community bowl).
Visit houses of people you know.
If possible, visit the houses of family and friends who can provide safe treats for your kiddo. Or if you want to go the extra mile, provide a bag of safe candy — like Dum Dum lollipops — to your neighbors so you can ensure your child gets something they can eat.
To avoid them sneaking pieces of candy altogether, carry some safe pieces around with you.
If your little one sees everyone eating their candy, they'll also want to. Bring a few pieces that are safe so that they can join in on the trick-or-treating sugar high.
Make sure their EpiPen is on hand.
Although your child is likely conscious of his allergies, kids are kids, and he may sneak a piece of candy that isn't safe while out in the neighborhood trick-or-treating. It's always best to have epinephrine in case of emergency.
Read the ingredient label of every candy your child receives and keep a master list of safe and not safe treats.
Even if it's a candy your child eats often, allergy statements displayed on wrappers can differ according to the size of the candy bar.
If there isn't a label on something individually wrapped, best to skip that one.
They probably collected so much other safe candy and it's not worth the risk if you're unsure.
Have a backup plan for candy.
If their Halloween loot ends up being mostly unsafe, have a bar or two of something you know they can definitely eat, or treat the candy they collect as "money" that they can buy a toy with instead.
Bake up a batch of your kid's favorite treat for parties.
You can freeze a tray of brownies or a few of their favorite cupcakes to bring with you to a costume party — or as a snack at their school celebration — so that there's no risk of them eating something that isn't allergen-free. That way, they still get something more than a bag of pretzels.
Throw a small party at home in lieu of trick-or-treating.
If your child and a few of their friends are into it, skip the house-to-house candy hunt and host a small get-together with safe treats and fun activities.