Celebrating Halloween Safely, Despite Food Allergies

As Halloween approaches, news reports and articles about children’s safety multiply. For decades, parents have been advised to choose light colored Halloween costumes, drivers are asked to be more cautious, and we are reminded of the importance of sorting through the treats collected by our little ghosts and witches to detect any potentially harmful substances or objects. These recommendations still apply today, although the focus has somewhat changed to reflect a new reality: food allergies. Although Canada has regulations surrounding the labeling of priority allergens, Halloween can become a stressful event if you have a child with food allergies.

Here are some tips to reduce the risk of allergic reactions on this special day:

  • Make sure your child always wears or carries their epinephrine auto-injector on them and that it is easily accessible if needed.
  • To avoid unpleasant surprises, your child should be aware that no treats should be consumed during trick or treating.
  • Accompany your child from door to door to prevent accidental contamination of their loot. A handful of peanuts in your little one’s bag could ruin their entire stash and prevent them from enjoying the fruits of their labor…
  • As soon as you get home, sort through your child’s candies! Set aside any unwrapped treats and those that do not have an ingredient list (unless you have previously confirmed their composition with the manufacturer). For the remaining candies, you should review the ingredient list to determine which are safe for your child to consume.
  • Note that the composition and ingredient list can change from year to year, and an allergen that was once absent from your little one’s favorite treat may now be present. Be aware that for the same product, ingredients can also vary depending on the packaging format.

So your little one doesn’t feel like they are missing out on all the fun, use these tricks to keep things festive:

  • Make sure you have a supply of safe treats you have previously purchased and replace each removed treat with another deemed safe.
  • Do you know the candy fairy or the Halloween witch? They go from house to house on Halloween Night to collect candies that have been set aside. To thank the child, they leave a small gift that will be discovered upon waking the next morning.

If, despite these tips and tricks, Halloween still worries you, why not organize a Halloween party at home? Plan for a costumed evening with friends, prepare a meal worthy of Dracula with your children, or create a spooky ambiance in your home. Thrills and chills guaranteed, while appeasing many safety concerns!

Happy Halloween!