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Halloween and Food Allergies
For kids with food allergies, ghosts and goblins aren't the scariest part of trick or treating--the treats are. What does a child with a nut allergy do on Halloween?
One of the most common allergies is a peanut allergy. There is a warning on over 50% of chocolate candy wrappers that the candy either contains nuts or was processed in a facility with nuts. Even small amounts of nuts or nut residue can cause a highly allergic child to have a reaction that can be fatal. Other commonly allergic foods like milk, eggs, wheat and other tree nuts are also commonly found in many candies. Even if you read labels carefully, your child could be close to another child eating candy with nuts and have a reaction.
Did you know that both plain and peanut M&M's could cause a reaction? Plain M&M's are processed in the same facility as other nuts and could be contaminated with small particles of nuts.
If your child has allergies:
- Carry the epi pen while going around and Trick or Treating
- Warn your child that the children around them may be eating peanut containing foods near them for weeks to come (Halloween candy in lunch boxes at school, for example).
- Have your child wear gloves while Trick or Treating
- Don't allow them to eat the candy until you have gone over everything that is in it
- Encourage friends to wash their hands after eating peanut containing foods
- Donate peanut containing candy to friends or neighbors who don't have allergies
- Instead of Trick or Treating for candy, get a special donation bag from the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network and collect donations. These donations go to increasing awareness and providing education about food allergies.
- Instead of candy, give out stickers, small puzzles, pencils, coloring books, or small toys.
For more information about food allergies, check out www.foodallergy.org