From jack-o-lantern grins to fiendishly fun parties, Halloween is a time of spooky splendor. But for parents of one in 13 American children with food allergies, the season’s scares can feel all too real. That’s where we come in! Our board-certified allergists have devised this ghoulish guide to ensure the only “trouble” brewing tonight will be a cauldron of endless family fun!
Common Treats That Can Spell Trouble
Your costume is on. Your kiddos are ready. Your treat bags are ready to collect sweet rewards. Now, all you need to do is pay careful attention to the snacks you collect. Keep your eyes peeled for these common treats that can spell trouble for your allergies:
- Peanut Butter Cups: Peanut allergies are one of the most common food allergies among children. Steer clear of the classic peanut butter cups and Reese’s Pieces.
- Milk Chocolate: Those with milk allergies should avoid milk chocolate candies and bars, which contain dairy. In some cases, dark chocolate can be a suitable alternative. While these treats do not typically list milk in their ingredients, some allergy sufferers have reported experiencing symptoms upon eating them, so read labels closely.
- Candy Bars with Nuts: Treats like Snickers, Almond Joy and Mr. Goodbars can be hazardous for children and adults with nut allergies. To avoid cross-contamination, separate these treats from other when handing out or receiving.
- Caramel Apples: While caramel apples are a seasonal staple, they can also inspire symptoms. These treats are likely to trigger oral allergy symptoms – most commonly found in people allergic to birch pollen. Patients with birch tree pollen allergy can also experience oral allergy symptoms with fruits like peaches, apricots, plums and nuts like hazelnut.
Allergies aren’t the end of fun! While some snacks may be off limits, there are still plenty more that are sure to spread smiles. These include the following:
- Pretzels: Pretzel packs are a salty, crunchy alternative to sweet candies. They’re widely available and generally safe for most children with allergies.
- Fruit Snacks: Many fruit snacks are vegan and free from common allergens like dairy, nuts and gluten.
- Popcorn: Popcorn is for more than family movie time! This savory snack is typically an allergy-free treat, and brands like Utz and Herr’s come in fun, tasty flavors.
- Stickers and Trinkets: Consider non-food treats like stickers, temporary tattoos and small toys. These are not only allergy-safe but can also keep kids entertained long after Halloween.
Creating an Allergy-Safe Halloween Plan
A keen eye isn’t the only tool in your belt! You should also establish an allergy plan to keep your entire family on the same page for a safe, allergy-free Halloween.
Start by teaching your child how to read food labels, turning it into an engaging game that empowers them to identify allergens. It’s also a good idea to connect with your neighbors beforehand to share your child’s allergies and kindly ask if they could provide allergy-safe treats.
Consider investing in a medical alert bracelet for your child. It serves as a visible reminder of their allergies and can be especially useful during Halloween events.
Participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project is a fantastic way to signal to trick-or-treaters that you have non-food treats available, ensuring that every child can enjoy Halloween safely.
Finally, remember to review your allergy emergency plan with your child and anyone supervising them during Halloween activities. Ensure your child carries their epinephrine auto-injector, and make sure everyone knows what to do in case of an allergic reaction. With your Halloween plan, you can enjoy a worry-free and spooktacular celebration.
Treat yourself to allergy relief with Charleston Allergy and Asthma!
Our allergists know the trick to relieving your allergy symptoms – even those for food allergies. Charleston Allergy and Asthma’s board-certified allergy and asthma specialists are ready to support you on the road to allergy relief with allergy testing, personalized treatment plans and oral immunotherapy treatments. Contact our team, now a part of Allergy Partners, to schedule your next allergy appointment.