Halloween is a frightening time of year for parents of children with food allergies.  Between school parties, fall festivals, and trick-or-treating on Halloween night children with food allergies may feel left out because they cannot share the same goodies as their friends.  Here are a few tips for parents faced with the challenge of ensuring their child avoids ingestion of an allergic substance while enjoying the festivities.

Non-edible Goodies

The safest way to avoid allergens is to give non-edible goodies such as stickers, pencils, or small plastic toys.  A new initiative called the teal pumpkin project is encouraging people to place a teal pumpkin outside their door if they are offering non-food treats.

Read Labels

Look at all ingredients on the snack. Some of the most common food allergens are wheat, dairy, eggs, peanuts, and soy which are present in many Halloween treats. Try to avoid allowing your child to eat the treats until you are home and can review the ingredients. Keep a stash of snacks at home and switch out the allergenic foods for a safe snack that the child enjoys at the end of the night.

Avoid home-made goodies

Avoid home-made goodies due to potential unknown ingredients and the possibility of cross contamination with foods that may mimic known allergic triggers.  Many families that do not have food allergies may not realize that cutting up that peanut butter sandwich and then using the same knife or cutting board for that Halloween treat is enough to trigger a substantial reaction in an allergic individual.

Lastly, if an anaphylactic reaction with food ingestion has occurred in the past ensure your epinephrine auto injector (EpiPen) is handy, has not expired, and you are comfortable with knowing how and when to use it.