Trick or treating with your child who has food allergies can be challenging. As a mother of a child with food allergies, I can definitely relate to this first hand. Holiday times can be challenging for children if they feel like they’re being restricted by what they can eat. Peanut, egg, and milk represent about 80% of the most common childhood food allergies, and these allergens are often found in some of the most popular candies and chocolates. I typically recommend reviewing some tips before events like trick or treating safely to continue to keep your child aware of the right and safe things they can eat.
Tip 1: Be proactive and talk to your child early on
If you have a child who is recently diagnosed with a food allergy or is just beginning to learn what a food allergy is and how it can affect them, what they eat, and the way they live, make sure you sit down with your child prior to trick or treating. You’ll want to remind them what treats they can’t have and still focus on which treats they can eat or activities they can partake in and enjoy. You want your child to feel included but cognizant and aware of their allergens. Make sure to focus on the fun so they can still feel excited about the holiday and celebrations!
Tip 2: I like to tell children to be careful not to eat while trick or treating
Make sure you enforce a policy that you or another trusted adult (ie: nanny, teacher, caregiver, etc) needs to carefully review all labels and ingredients of the treats at home so that your child can enjoy their goodies safely, and you are able to monitor for any potential reactions.
Generally, I also recommend parents avoid treats with no ingredient labeling. This is a strict policy in many nut free schools as well. That way, we can be careful not to eat any home-baked goodies or treats that may have a child’s allergens in them.
Tip 3: Have an emergency backup plan
Lastly, make sure if you’re going trick or treating with your child, that you have at least two auto-injectable epi-pens available at all times as accidental ingestions and cross-contact can occur!