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Healthy Halloween with Food Allergies

Trick or Treat night is fast approaching on Thursday Oct 28th from 6 to 8 pm on the West Shore. Halloween is a time when people with allergies need to be very careful in monitoring the candy they are eating. Reading labels is extremely important at this time as some candies may have ingredients such as peanuts, tree nuts, soy or milk that you would never assume were there. Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) has prepared a list of tips to help keep your children safe while having fun this year on Halloween. These rules apply to adults dipping into your kids stash or around the office.

If your child will collect candy on Halloween, have something special ready to trade for the candy he or she can’t eat.

Give the treats your child cannot eat to other children - for example, at a local hospital or through a food bank. My personal favorite solution to this is have your kid come home at the half point in the night and give them a new bag and pass out the candy they can not eat in the second half. Saving money and stress for you.

Pass out nonfood items, such as Halloween stickers or small toys, to trick-or-treaters to promote food allergy awareness. Encourage your neighbors to do this as well.

Create a “candy swap” so that allergen-containing candies can be traded for other treats. This works if you know someone with different allergies.

Take the focus off of trick-or-treating by hosting a costume party that emphasizes fun instead of candy. Halloween stickers, pencils, spider rings and stamps are great alternatives for goody bags.

Provide neighbors with allergy-safe candies for your child or ask neighbors to hand out only candy with individualized labels - so kids with allergies can determine whether the treat is safe to eat or not.

Have your trick-or-treater eat dinner before going out on Halloween night, so that he or she is not tempted by hunger to eat a treat! Teach children to politely refuse offers of cookies and other homemade treats. Make sure your child carries his or her medicines while trick-or-treating, in case a reaction occurs.

Remember that candy ingredients can vary for different sizes of the same product such as full-size candy bars and their miniature versions, which are not always individually labeled.

Accompany your child trick-or-treating, or, if he or she is old enough to go without an adult, have him or her go with friends who know about the child's food allergies.

Local Sources for healthy halloween products (i.e. none food items)

1. Lets Party, Carlisle Pike Mechanicsburg

2. Party City, Carlisle Pike Mechanicsburg

3. Halloween Store, Rt 22 Harrisburg

4. Party City, Rt 22 Harrisburg

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