“You want Halloween to be scary for the right reasons – ghosts, goblins and witches – not allergies and asthma,” said allergist Stephen Tilles, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). “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.”
Following are four tips from ACAAI to help plan Halloween parties and trick-or-treating.
Don’t let sweet treats make you bitter – For kids, candy is often the focus of Halloween. Unfortunately, many of the “fun-size” treats aren’t labeled for allergens, and if there’s no label, it isn’t safe for your child with food allergies. Tell your children it’s fine to say “no thank you” to treats they know aren’t safe for them. Have them bring all treats home for you to check before they take a bite. You can also drop off safe treats for your child with neighbors and at school.
Be a superhero. Be prepared. – Take along your own trick or treat bag and fill it with supplies. If your child has asthma, bring along their inhaler. Running door-to-door through smoke machines and kicking up moldy leaves can cause asthma symptoms. if your child has food allergies, make sure you have two epinephrine auto injectors. And carry your cell phone in case you need to make an emergency call. You could even carry “safe treats” in case your food-allergic child wants something to munch on before they get home.
Costume parade, here we come! – You don’t have to sew every inch of your child’s costume to add some “allergy-friendly” details. If your child has a metal allergy, consider adding gloves to the costume. Hypoallergenic makeup is a good idea if your child has eczema or other skin allergies. Better yet, steer clear of make-up entirely. Some store-bought costumes contain latex and other synthetic dyes that may cause irritation or an allergic reaction, so read the garment labels. Masks can cause problems for kids with asthma, so either skip it entirely, or if a hat works for the costume, go that route instead.
Teal: The real deal – You may think pumpkins and jack-o’-lanterns should be exclusively orange, but consider going teal this year. Food Allergy Research & Education encourages awareness of food allergies by placing teal pumpkins in front of your house to let trick-or-treaters know you have safe, non-food treats. A teal pumpkin and non-food treats are a friendly way to help kids with food allergies join in the trick-or-treating fun.
If you think your child might have allergies or asthma, make an appointment with an allergist for proper testing. To locate an allergist in your area, visit AllergyAndAsthmaRelief.org.