Halloween is a great time of year to dress up and eat lots of candy. Who doesn’t enjoy that? For some families with food allergic children, this holiday can be stressful. Many treats that are handed out are off limits to these children because they either contain or have the risk of containing (through cross contact) common foods associated with allergy like milk, eggs and nuts. Here are some tips to help you and your family:

  • If a food label indicates that the product “may contain”
    or is “processed on shared equipment with” the
    ingredient to which you or your child is allergic, avoid
    that food.  Researchers have tested products with
    precautionary statements andfound that major food
    allergens such as milk, egg, and peanut have been
    found in about 5% of these foods.
  • Mini-size, fun-size or bite-size versions of candy may
    contain different ingredients to their full-size
    counterparts. Make no assumptions, and read all labels
    carefully.
  • Buy safe treats that you can trade with your child for
    unsafe candies that they have received.
  • Take those same safe treats and give them to your
    neighbors to give your allergic child when he or she
    comes to their door.
  • Say no to treats that do not have full ingredient labels.
    If prescribed, always have your Epi-Pen available.
    Make a rule that no treats can be eaten while being out.
    They can only be consumed after inspection by you.

Even better, you and your child can join the Food Allergy & Anaphyaxis Network’s (FAAN’s) Trick-or-Treat for Food Allergy campaign which lets kids join in the Halloween fun while raising awareness and funds for food allergy. You can also check out more tips from:

  • Kids with Food Allergies
  • Allergic Living Magazine

Dr. Ananth Thyagarajan (Dr. T.)