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A Food Allergy Safe Halloween

food allergy safe halloween-Innovation Academy Las Vegas middle school

Food Allergy Safety | Innovation Academy Las Vegas Middle School

Halloween Can Be Extra Scary For Kids With Food Allergies

It can be daunting enough on a regular day when you have a child with severe food allergies. Keeping them safe from accidental food exposures is always a challenge.

However, Halloween brings even more challenges for families dealing with food allergies. Even outside of actual Halloween, October is often busy with goodies and treats being handed out at schools, youth sports events, and at almost every store you walk into.

Nobody wants to exclude their kid from the Halloween fun, so what can a parent do? Here are some excellent tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) that can really help. The best part is that many of these tips can be used for any family simply wanting to reduce the amount of candy your kids get to eat during Halloween, food allergy or not!

Label Check for Allergens

This can be a little challenging, however, it is the easiest way to avoid a food allergy exposure. Not all “single serving” candies handed out during Halloween have a food label. Additionally, many treats at school or friend’s houses are homemade.

However, if there is a label available, do a quick check for the primary allergens that effect your child. The fact is that most candy contains the most common allergens. This includes things like peanuts and tree nuts, milk, egg, soy, or wheat.

Have a Candy Exchange or Trade

Educating our kids about their food allergies is so important. It empowers them to make safe choices for themselves, while teaching them how to not let their food allergy get in the way of having fun. While many common treats contain the most common food allergens, there are some that are considered to be “safe” alternatives.

Below is a list of candies that avoid the top-8 most common food allergens, including the ones that are typically found in candy (milk, egg, wheat, soybean, tree nuts, peanuts). Encourage your child to work out trades with their friends for these treats, and share this list with your school and extra curricular teams.

Food Allergen Safe Treats

Of course, please use your own good judgement in these brands. Not all of these brands disclose if these products are exposed to allergens in the manufacturing facility, only that they do not contain the top-8 most common allergens. (To see more about this, click HERE)

Call On the Candy Witch (or Candy Fairy)

Your child should not feel punished for having food allergies. One way to make Halloween fun and rewarding for them is to call on the “Candy Witch” (or “Candy Fairy” if you prefer).

This works better with younger children, and takes a little parental pre-planning. The idea is for them to enjoy trick-or-treating with no limitations or worries. When you get back to the house, go through their candy haul together, setting aside any allergy appropriate treats they may have received.

Here is the magic. Tell them that there is a Candy Witch (or Fairy) that loves to exchange surprises for candies. Have them set out the candies that they can’t have on the front porch for the Candy Witch…when your child goes to bed, exchange the candy with a special gift or toy that they have been wanting. The Candy Witch gets the cavities and sugar, your kid gets fun toys in exchange!

This also works for families that simply want to limit the amount of candy that your kids get to have on Halloween.

Look for Teal Pumpkins

The Teal Pumpkin Project is a movement that promotes safe trick-or-treating for kids with allergies. Instead of handing out candies, a Teal Pumpkin indicates a house or business that is handing out toys and goodies, such as glow sticks, spider rings, bubbles, pencils, bouncy balls, etc…essentially, non-food related treats.

If you are a family with food allergies, consider setting out your own Teal Pumpkin and handing out these kinds of treats instead to help support the movement. You might also be helping out some neighbors with similar food allergies!

Have a Happy Halloween!

Innovation Academy Las Vegas wishes our community a fun and safe Halloween!

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Food Allergy Safety | Innovation Academy Las Vegas Middle School