21 Oct 2013
Tips for handling Halloween and food allergies
Posted: 21 Oct 2013
The dark nights are drawing in, the pumpkins are being carved and soon little ghouls will be at your door demanding tricks or treats. Halloween is an exciting time for kids, but if your child has a food allergy, October 31st, with its unregulated food, can fill you with terror.
So I've put together some tips to help you keep your child safe during Halloween. Hopefully they'll give you peace of mind while your child enjoys becoming a little devil!
1. Manage your child's expectations. Explain that Halloween is about getting sweets and chocolate from the neighbours, but that you'll need to check that the food is safe. Also let your child know that they'll be able to 'trade' unsafe treats for safe ones. Then help them start planning their costume and the tricks they'll play; the less focus on food the better! (Remember if using face paints, check the labels for allergens, nut oils can often be used).
2. If you have other children, agree a Halloween plan. If your child has non-allergic siblings, ask your other children to agree not to eat their sweets until the end of the evening. Then when they all come home laden with goodies, your child with allergies can trade the unsafe treats for safe ones and then all your children can tuck in at the same time. This helps your child with allergies feel included, rather than being 'the odd one out'.
3. Leave safe food with the neighbours. If you know your neighbours well enough, consider dropping off safe treats before the trick or treating begins. Your child will be thrilled to see familiar packaging and food that they know is safe! But to maintain consistency, still insist that your child brings the food home before they eat it.
4. Plan a spooky night in. If trick or treating is too problematic, you could create your own Halloween traditions. Maybe throw a Halloween party, host a pumpkin carving competition, watch spooky films or try ghost hunting at home. Your child may love it so much that they'll never want to trick or treat again!
5. Be prepared. If your child is trick or treating without you, don't let them leave the house without their auto-injector pen. Have a simple checklist that you both go through before you leave. If they are going out with another adult, meet them beforehand and explain what to do in the event of an allergic reaction, and make sure they have all your contact numbers.
6. Be realistic. However hard you try to make Halloween fun for your child, it may be one of those times when they are very aware of their allergies and wish they didn't have them. There may well be tears before bedtime, so be ready with a special Halloween hug. It won't make it all better, but it's probably more effective than you think.
Halloween fun at Allergy Adventures
Need help carving a pumpkin? Here's how to do it.
If you have any other 'top tips' that you've always found useful around Halloween, pop a comment below, we'd love to hear them.
Happy Halloween everyone!comments powered by Disqus