If you are like most parents of children with severe allergies to food, or substances like latex, you know backwards and forwards what you need to do to keep kids safe at school, home, and during special events like halloween. Passing this article along to parents of your child’s friends might help both of you—and your child!—to have a less-stress Halloween night. And of course, make sure your child’s medical ID bracelet or necklace is a part of their halloween costume!
What are severe allergies?
Severe food allergies impact 1 in 13 children.  Allergic reactions to common proteins, such as those contained in peanuts, tree nuts, milk and dairy products, eggs, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish, wheat, shellfish, latex (rubbers from a natural plant source), or potentially any other food, can cause severe, potentially life-threatening symptoms. [1.1]
People with food allergy totally healthy so long as they avoid their allergens.
What preparations need to be made for kids with severe allergies on Halloween?
Children with allergies should wear a medical ID bracelet at all times, Halloween included! Often, an epinephrine auto-injector, like an Epi-Pen, is prescribed for children at risk for anaphylaxis—ensure children who need one have access to it at all times. As many children with severe allergies also have asthma, ensure the child also carries their rescue inhaler with them while trick-or-treating if they do have asthma. Make sure you know how to use these devices if you are accompanying a child with an Epi-Pen or inhaler out on Halloween night.
What steps can help to prevent an allergic reaction on Halloween?
Kids should never eat candy before it is checked by parents in case it has been tampered with and is dangerous—however, this is even more important for children with food allergies! Because ingredients change frequently and trace amounts of allergens may be in Halloween candy, the candy should be checked by the parents of the child with the food allergy.
If you want to be a “super parent” accompanying children trick-or-treating, confirm with the child with the food allergy’s parents which items are safe, and have some safe treats in your pocket for your group.
If children in your Halloween group are allergic to latex, keep an eye out for balloons en route—if present, these homes may need to be avoided depending on how sensitive the child is. If you don’t know, don’t risk it! The adult in the group or the child’s friends can always ask the homeowner for candy for the child who may need to hang back.
Look for Teal Pumpkins!
The Teal Pumpkin Project helps families with a child with food allergies identify houses that have non-candy treats available. Consider painting a pumpkin teal yourself, and having small non-candy treats available, either upon request alongside your candy or as your main offering. Kids get enough candy on Halloween, that sometimes glow sticks, stickers or tattoos are just as fun!
Have a safe and happy Halloween from all of us at My Identity Doctor!