Who doesn’t love Halloween? The candy. The theme baked goods. The costumes. But Halloween can be a very stressful time for families living with food allergies. There’s such an emphasis on giving and receiving candy that those who haven’t been affected by food allergies rarely consider that some of their treats could pose a risk. So it is up to the food allergy community to be hyperaware, while also encouraging those around us to be inclusive by offering allergy-friendly tricks and treats, too. Here are a few simple tips to having a safe and spooktacular Halloween:
1. Institute a no-eat policy for children while trick or treating. This will give a parent the chance to check the labels of any and all candy before consumption. Note that just because you can safely eat one item from a particular brand, all items from that brand may not be processed at the same facility. For instance, Hershey Nuggets have a peanut warning, but regular-sized Hershey bars do not.
2. Buy some allergy-friendly treats. Major retailers and food allergy advocates now publish handy lists to help you get your candy shopping done efficiently. Check out Walgreen’s Allergen-Friendly Halloween Candy Guide or Allergic Living magazine’s Halloween Candy Guide.
3. Support FARE’s Teal Pumpkin Project by giving out non-candy Halloween favors, too, such as stickers, pencils, bubbles, and other items. Read my previous blog post about this very important initiative.
4. Say no to the unknown. When coworkers or friends bring over their Halloween baked goods (because, let’s face it, they always do), resist. I know you want to indulge, but it is not worth it.