Handling Halloween with Allergies


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Candy… With a Catch!

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays– you can dress up and be anyone you want to be for a night! When I was younger, I looked forward to the huge bag of sweet treats that I was guaranteed to get. Luckily for me, I could dig right in (after my mother looked through them, of course). However, some of my friends weren’t so lucky. They had food allergies that made the holiday much more difficult.

Allergies can make Halloween a potentially dangerous holiday for some. If you or someone you know suffers from severe allergies, share these tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) so they can enjoy fall festivities with no worries.

Read Before You Eat

Parents: if you know your child suffers from very serious allergies, make sure to take the time to read through each and every label on the candies they collect. Halloween candy is known to contain some of the most common allergens for children, such as peanuts, milk, egg, soy, and wheat.

If there is a situation where the ingredients are not listed on the label, you can coordinate a “sweet exchange” with a friend to avoid the risk of exposure. Similarly, instead of being wasteful, you can gather up all the dangerous snacks and deliver them to a child who can enjoy them.

Even though the label may not explicitly state a common allergen, you should keep in mind that a lot of the candies are made in the same factories. Therefore, the candy may have traces of potentially dangerous ingredients due to cross-contamination. Similarly, “fun-size” candies are made using different processes in manufacturing facilities. So, just because your child could previously enjoy a Snickers bar does not necessarily mean that the smaller version of the treat is safe. Proceed with caution.

Finally, you want to be cautious when allowing your child to accept homemade sweets. This should be discouraged as much as possible– you never know what goes into homemade treats! Likewise, you should advise your child not to share other children’s food.

Great Alternatives

Although Halloween is centered around costumes and candy, you can make some simple changes that to keep those suffering from allergies safe.

A great alternative to candy is offering non-edible goodies. The Teal Pumpkin Project, an initiative that promotes safe trick-or-treating options for those with allergies, suggests offering glow sticks, plastic spider rings, pencils, bubbles, vampire fangs, bouncy balls, etc. so that every trick-or-treater can enjoy coming to your door. If you know your child has allergies, you might want to inform your neighbors and ask them to have these prizes on deck or supply them with some fun options.

If that is not possible, you can always plan for other activities that do not involve trick-or-treating. For example, you could host a movie night watching age-appropriate scary movies. Your child gets their Halloween fix, and you get your peace of mind.


We hope that this information on handling Halloween with allergies is useful to you.

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