Help kids with food allergies have a safe and happy Halloween

Have a safe and happy HalloweenNOTICE for anyone who would like to help keep the 1 out of 13 American kids who have food allergies safe and out of the hospital tonight:

Consider the following options for safer Halloween treats:

Nut-free candies: Tootsie Rolls, Tootsie Pops, Charms lollipops, Charms Blow Pops, Dubble Bubble bubble gum, Charleston Chew, Dots gumdrops, Sweetarts, Nerds, Laffy Taffy, Smarties.

Top-8-allergen-free candies: Dum Dums lollipops, YumEarth lollipops, YumEarth gummy candies, Surf Sweets jellybeans, Surf Sweets gummy candies.

Candy alternatives: Bouncy balls, glow bracelets, glow sticks stickers, plastic spiders, plastic skulls, pencils, bubble bottles.

Note that even allergy-friendly candies might be packaged with candies that contain common food allergens, especially in holiday mix bags. Some children can react to trace amounts of allergen. So always check with a food allergic child’s parents before allowing a child with a food allergy to eat a piece of candy, even if you think it is safe.

If you are planning to participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project, and welcome children with food allergies and other dietary restrictions to trick-or-treat safely at your home by offering non-food treats, like the candy alternatives listed above, make sure to go and get detailed Teal Pumpkin Project directions and a free printable Teal Pumpkin sign at FARE.

If a child with a food allergy will be attending a party at your home tonight, ASK THE CHILD’S PARENTS what foods are and are not safe for that child to eat. Do not assume that a child can safely eat a food just because “It’s not peanut-flavored” or “it doesn’t look like it has dairy.” Many foods contain hidden allergens and even trace amounts of an allergen can cause a severe allergic reaction for some people. If a child with a food allergy says “No thank you” to a cookie or cupcake or piece of candy you offer tonight, please listen and don’t push, even if you think the food you are offering is allergy-safe. Kids with food allergies aren’t being picky or rude when they refuse an offered treat. They are just trying to stay healthy. It’s actually very hard for kids with food allergies to say “No thank you” all night long while other people all around them are enjoying fun food without a care!

If a child with a life-threatening food allergy will be in left your care tonight, make sure that child will be carrying epinephrine. Ask what you can do to help recognize the signs of an allergic reaction, and ask whether the child or the child’s parents would be willing to train you on how to administer the child’s medicine, just in case. YOU CAN LEARN TO USE AN EPINEPHRINE AUTOINJECTOR. These devices are very safe and easy to use. It takes just minutes of training to learn how to save a life.

Happy Halloween, and thanks for helping to keep kids with food allergies safe!