Make Halloween allergy-friendly for kids

By Liz Meszaros, MDLinx
Published October 9, 2017

Key Takeaways

To take some of the unwelcome scariness out of Halloween for kids with allergies, experts from the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) have compiled a list of tips to help plan Halloween parties and trick-or-treating adventures for kids who suffer from food allergies.

 “You want Halloween to be scary for the right reasons–ghosts, goblins and witches–not allergies and asthma,” said Stephen Tilles, MD, an allergist-immunologist in Seattle, WA, and ACAAI president. “If you follow a few common-sense rules, you should be able to keep your kids safe and the party going without allergy and asthma symptoms.”

Check for food allergy labels. Many of the fun-size treats commonly given out on Halloween do not have specific allergy labeling. Tell children it’s fine to say “No, thank you” to treats they know are not safe. Also tell them to bring home all treats before sampling them.

Be prepared for allergies. Pack a bag with supplies to treat allergies that may arise. For example, include an inhaler for children with asthma. Running through smoke machine or moldy leaves may exacerbate asthma symptoms. For children with food allergies, bring two epinephrine auto-injectors just in case. Always have a cell phone available if an emergency call is necessary. Parents could also pack safe treats to stave off children munching until they get home.

Remember that costumes can also cause allergies. For allergic children, it is probably a good idea to steer clear of make-up; but if their costume requires it, make sure it is hypoallergenic. Also remember that some store-bought costumes do contain latex and other synthetic dyes that could cause irritation or allergic reactions. Read labels and go for a trial run of the costume at home, before Halloween, if possible. In addition, masks may be problematic for kids with asthma, so try to skip these or substitute another costume element for the mask.

Teal means safe. According to Food Allergy Research & Education, the world’s largest non-profit organization dedicated to food allergy awareness, education, research, and advocacy, teal pumpkins in front of the house signify an awareness of food allergies and the availability of safe, non-food treats for trick-or-treaters.

By following these tips, we can move toward keeping Halloween fun and safe for everyone.

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