Staying Safe at Halloween with Allergies and Anaphylaxis

October is here and soon parents and children’s minds will be turning to costumes, games and trick or treating. Halloween should be a little bit scary and a lot of fun!  Ghoulish costumes, ghost and witches, trick or treating and scary sounds.  But for parents of kids with food allergies scary can take on a different meaning when it comes to trick or treating.

The reality is many of the treats handed out at Halloween may contain common food allergens such as nuts, peanuts, dairy, egg and soya. Allergic reactions can vary from mild rash and itching, to stomach cramps and vomiting, to Anaphylaxis which is a severe potentially life threatening allergic reaction. So even if your child doesn’t have allergies, maybe a family member or neighbours child does and it’s good to have a few alternatives to hand to avoid sad faces.

Tops tips from Allergy Lifestyle to make it a safe fun filled Halloween for all include;

  1. Go with your child to designated houses (friends and family) where you have already explained your child’s allergies and have a pre-approved stash of allergy free goodies.
  1. Go as normal to all houses but
    • Agree that nothing will be eaten until all treats are checked, any that contain the allergen can be swopped for something suitable.
    • Remember that the ingredients of ‘fun size’ sweets may differ from the regular-size bars.
    • Sometimes allergy information may not be displayed when the sweets come from a bigger pack, so if in doubt throw it out and replace with something safe.
  1. Consider non sweet Halloween themed alternatives that won’t break the bank
    • Spooky or sparkly stickers
    • Plastic jewellery
    • Colouring books.
    • Rings in the shapes of spiders & bats
    • Whoopee cushions
    • Glow in the dark sticks
  1. Throw a Halloween party, turn your home into a haunted house and invite friends to come to you.
    • Buy a Halloween CD for ghoulish music
    • Create your own play list such as ‘Monster Mash’ ‘I put a Spell on You’, ‘Ding Song the Witch is Dead’ ‘Thriller’ and ‘Ghost Busters’.
    • Hide allergy safe treats around the house and garden and have a scavenger hunt.
  1. Instead of trick or treating have a sleep over party where the kids can stay up late and watch Halloween movies and tell ghost stories. Not so scary Halloween movies for small kids include
    • ‘Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween Movie’,
    • ‘The Nightmare before Christmas’,
    • ‘Ghostbusters’,
    • ‘Monsters INC’,
    • ‘Casper’,
    • ‘Beetlejuice’,
    • ‘The Addams family’,
    • ‘Coraline’,
    • ‘Hocus Pocus’
  1. Focus your child’s attention on the costumes and party games and less on treats. If you are going to include face painting in your costume, don’t forget to check ingredients for allergens.  Allergy Lifestyle has a limited number of Allergy friendly Halloween face paint packs free from Peanuts, Dairy, Eggs, Shellfish, Fish, Soy, Wheat, Corn, Parabens, Tree Nuts, Beeswax, Coconut, Phthalates, Sesame, Shea Butter, Sunflower, Peas, Animal Products, Petroleum.

  1. If you go out trick or treating bring your
    • Adrenaline auto injectors x 2
    • Anti histamines
    • Inhaler
    • Hand wipes to clean little hands
    • Fully charged mobile phone in case of emergency.
    • Consider allergy wristbands or medical jewellery to raise awareness.
  1. Check with your school or childcare in advance to see if they are planning any Halloween activities and check they are safe for your child.
  1. Latex Allergy: check mask, costumes and balloons carefully to make sure they are latex free
  1. Dust mite allergies: give everything a good wash and clean if have been stored from last year to get rid of dust mites

Allergic children do not want to be treated differently from their peers. As parents we want to keep our kids safe but also let them have fun and enjoy Halloween with their friends, with a little planning and preparation there is no reason your child needs to miss out on Halloween fun. Preparation is the name of the game for a fun filled night for all.

Useful Products to have:

Teal Pumpkin Project:

Started in America in 2014, it is growing in momentum around the world The Teal Pumpkin Project promotes safety, inclusion and respect of individuals managing food allergies. This worldwide movement offers an alternative for kids with food allergies, as well as other children for whom sweets are not an option. The Teal Pumpkin Project was inspired by a local awareness activity run and launched as a national campaign by FARE in 2014, it keeps Halloween a fun, positive experience for all! To participate simply place a teal pumpkin or an Allergy friendly treats sign’ in front of your home to indicate to trick or treaters that you have non-food or allergy friendly treats available.  For more information read our blog post on the Teal Pumpkin Project here

Disclaimer

This article is not intended nor recommended as a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider regarding any medical condition or treatment. Never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this article.

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