Almond Joy, Milky Way, and Hershey's cookies and cream, these are some of the candies we all know and love - and some of our favorites to hand out on Halloween night. But did you know that these common trick-or-treating chocolates include milk, egg, soy and many other food allergens?
Making up 90% of childhood food allergies, the most common food allergens (like peanut, tree nuts, egg and milk) are found in many candy and chocolates handed out on Halloween. And with 1 in every 13 children having food allergies, trick-or-treating can come with its own set of risks.
If your child has a food allergy, or if you are planning on handing out candy this Hallows’ Eve, here are some tips for keeping it safe for all kids.
Before trick-or-treating, make a game plan with your children. If they have a food allergy, discuss how that will affect their candy-eating. Decide whether there are certain foods your child can have while out, and what they need to wait until later for further inspection.
Remind your child not to share any candy with others while out trick-or-treating, and to always ask you before they eat anything. This helps to enforce the game plan rules and keep you aware of the foods and candies your child is eating. To add a little more fun to the night, you can also bring allergy-free candies or toys for your child to “trade in”.
Many miniature candies do not have a listing of ingredients on the individual packages, making it difficult to check for food allergens. For candies without a label, check larger packages or the manufacturer’s website. It is also important to pay attention to potential cross-contamination, or warnings about co-production with other foods or candies. If there is no label to be found, or the treat is homemade, we recommend tossing it out.
There are certain candies, like Skittles, Nerds and Sour Patch Kids that contain no allergens and are safe for all trick-or-treaters. You can plan ahead with close neighbors or family members to hand out allergen-free foods and candies so your child knows they are safe to eat.
The Teal Pumpkin Project promotes safety, inclusion and respect of individuals managing food allergies. This worldwide movement offers an alternative for kids with food allergies, as well as other children for whom candy is not an option. Any house with teal pumpkins are pledging that they have safe, non-food treats available. These can be items that still encourage fun and creativity, like bubbles, glow sticks, bouncy balls, and stickers.
Even with the steps above to ensure a safe trick-or-treating experience, you should always be prepared. Following FARE's Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Emergency Care Plan, carry epi-pens with you at all times in case of emergencies.
Food allergies are already stressful enough. Halloween is a time for your child to express their creativity and have fun.
Dressing up in cute costumes and eating lots of candy - Halloween is supposed to be a fun and exciting time for your children. The last thing you want to worry about is food allergies. The prevalence of food allergies has increased dramatically in the last decade, with nearly six million children in the U.S. having a food allergy today. But the good news is that there is something you can do about it!
Recent landmark studies have shown that early allergen introduction can help lower your little one’s risk of developing a food allergy. According to USDA Guidelines, 4-6 months acts as the critical window to introduce infants to potentially allergenic foods along with other complementary foods.
Introducing a variety of diverse foods can help guide the immune system by training it to recognize potentially allergenic foods as safe and potentially help your baby from developing a food allergy.
If you’re a parent of a child with food allergies, Halloween can be a nightmare that has nothing to do with scary costumes. From monitoring your child’s candy consumption while out in the streets, to separating them into safe and unsafe piles, becoming a candy detective becomes a necessary chore.
That’s why food allergen introduction starts in infancy. Help train your child’s tummy to recognize the most common allergens as just food with SpoonfulONE, and help them enjoy a future of holidays and celebrations stress-free.