image via Brave Girl’s Club.
For 1 in 13 kids in the U.S. who have food allergies, Halloween isn’t the carefree, candy-laden free-for-all that most kids eagerly await. That’s because many traditional treats have the potential to cause an allergic reaction – which can be life-threatening – for children managing allergies to nuts, milk, wheat, soy and many other foods.
But this Halloween, Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) is working to help make October 31 a fun and safe day for every trick-or-treater by launching the Teal Pumpkin Project nationwide. Inspired by families in East Tennessee, the Teal Pumpkin Project allows children with food allergies to enjoy Halloween without fear.
FARE is encouraging families to paint a pumpkin teal and place it – and a free, downloadable sign – in front of their house to indicate they will have non-food treats available on Halloween. Handing out inexpensive non-food treats (e.g., glow bracelets, stickers, pencils) is a great way to include all children in trick-or-treating. More details about the project, and a free sign, can be found on FARE’s blog.
1. Enforce a “no eating while trick-or-treating” rule, so that you have time to review all food labels.
2. Avoid candy and treats that do not have an ingredient label.
3. Always have an epinephrine auto-injector available, if prescribed.
4. Keep in mind that the mini-size, fun-size, or bite-size version of candy may contain different ingredients than their full-size counterparts. Make no assumptions, and read all labels carefully.
5. Keep the emphasis on the fun, rather than the candy.
6. Remember that a candy that has been safe for your child in the past may now have different ingredients. Read the label, every time.