Every year, Halloween celebrations seem to get bigger and more elaborate, but the focus is always on trick or treating and costumes. Kids don't need to be frightened of allergies, says the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. They've issued tips to help make Halloween safe for all, including those with food allergies.
The ACAAI has issued some tricks that will help kids with food allergies, and their parents, have a safe, fun Halloween.
Scary, but not because of allergies.
Although candy features prominently in Halloween celebrations, says the ACAAI, it doesn't have to be the scary part for kids with allergies. Parents of kids with or without food allergies can take the focus off of food and put it on the spooky fun and costumes instead. Haunted houses, scary movies, treasure hunts, costume making, role playing.. all fun things that don't involve candy.
Witch treats and teal pumpkins?
Parents can buy fun toys and items to swap for treats. These can be used to "switch witch" with the candy kids get - whether it has allergens or not - and to replace suspicious candy that may not be allergy labeled.
By the same token, homes showing a teal pumpkin out front are giving out (or offering) allergy-friendly treats for kids. The Teal Pumpkin Project is part of the Food Allergy Research and Education's awareness campaign about allergies.
Get a diagnosis.
Finally, the ACAAI says that suspicion of an allergy and having a diagnosis for one are two different things. Parents who suspect that their child may have a food allergy should see an allergist for a definite diagnosis. One of the hardest things for those with allergies to get beyond is the public's perception that most allergies are just inconveniences and not life-threatening. Much of that perception is fed by parents who are over-protective and assume allergies exist when they don't. The ACAAI also points out that an intolerance is not an allergy.