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FAACT's Halloween Safety Tips
1. Bring epinephrine: Carry your child’s epinephrine auto-injectors while trick-or-treating, to parties, at the mall, and anywhere else there may be Halloween candy. Your epinephrine auto-injectors should be with you at all times.
2. Avoid eating treats along the way: Encourage your child to wait until he/she is home before eating treats to avoid a mix-up of candy that could potentially contain food allergens.
3. Inspect candy and check labels: Check the labels of all candy in your child’s collection for ingredients your child might be allergic to. You may need to research some of these items online. Put candy with unknown ingredients in a spot where your child can’t get to them – or simply throw it out to avoid potential problems. Remember, if NO LABEL, DO NOT EAT!
4. Bring extra treats to parties: When friends or neighbors host a Halloween bash, eat only packaged and labeled goodies that are safe for you to avoid cross-contact. Make your own allergen-free treats for the whole gang so your child won’t feel left out.
5. Non-food treats: Consider passing out non-food treats such as Halloween-decorated pencils, glow necklaces or bracelets, or Halloween trinkets (spiders, rings, temporary tattoos).
Download and print FAACT's Halloween Safety Poster!
Tips to Create A Safe and TEAL Halloween
Teal Pumpkins are such a great way to include children with food allergies and help them enjoy a “safe” and happy Halloween. Besides helping children with food allergies, it’s also helping include so many other children with different dietary restrictions, too!
Here are some TIPs to help increase SAFETY this Halloween:
1. Read ALL labels: sometimes smaller sized candy is manufactured differently than other sizes. Also, ingredients & manufacturing often change…NEVER assume an item is safe, just because it was safe before.
2. Discuss a NO Candy Rule: have an incentive & once they get home, they can switch items out for safe candy, toys or even money.
3. Discuss candy to avoid: It’s one thing to say avoid candy with peanuts, but do they know what the wrappers look like so they don’t accidentally grab it?
4. Consider gloves: Can they wear gloves with their costume to help avoid direct contact?
5. Consider awareness items: Buttons, stickers, tattoos, or other awareness items to help inform/remind others about the allergy.
6. Be aware of their surroundings: Look at the other items in the bucket and don’t grab if surrounded by nut candy, etc. Also watch what other kids are eating around them and any candy/wrappers that are thrown on the ground.
7. Speak up for themselves: If they see a candy they know they can have, have them ask for it. If someone offers something they can’t have, say “No thank you, I have a food allergy”.
8. Drop off to neighbors: Earlier that day, place some safe candy at the neighbors so your small child can go there & get it. It also gives you a chance to help educate others on food allergies.
9. Sing about it: Here’s a cute & catchy song from Kyle Dine “Food Allergy Halloween Safety ” to help teach & remind your child about safety.
10. Read about it: The No Biggie Bunch has a cute book “Trade-or Treat Halloween” about kids swapping the candy that contains their allergens.
Here are some TIPs to help increase AWARENESS this Halloween:
1. Paint a pumpkin teal or place a poster on your door to let others know you have non-food treats available. Besides providing safe treats for children with dietary restrictions, it’s bringing attention and helping others become familiar with the meaning. This is also great conversation starter for family, friends and guests who visit your home.
2. Hand out food allergy information to the parents of the trick-or-treaters. FAACT has a FREE downloadable flyer - "10 FAACTs about Food Allergies."
3. Talk to your child’s teacher about bringing “teal” into the classroom. Find out the possibility of having a non-food or allergy-friendly party. If you’re able, help out at the party and offer to supply ideas for allergy-friendly activities. This can allow you to watch over your child during the party, and show others how easy it is to have fun celebrating Halloween, without the allergens. (If you need ideas for fun games and crafts, check out the Allergy Free Zone’s Pinterest Boards).
4. See if the principal will place a teal pumpkin at the school and give parents information, so they can participate, too. If you’re able, supply the school with a list of ideas for non-food and/or allergy-friendly items, such as FAACT’s Bookmarks and Posters.
5. Ask family, friends, and local businesses to help spread the word. I’ve seen many Facebook posts where retail stores have placed a teal pumpkin with an informational poster and items for sale. Let businesses know, not only are they helping children with food allergies, it’s also a great sales tactic. They can place items they sell next to the pumpkin, so customers can easily purchase these items to get involved. For example: At the home improvement store, have teal paint and brushes. At stores like Target and Walmart, have some of the small, non-food items they have available for sale.
It’s wonderful to see how these pumpkins are growing and helping increase food allergy awareness. So, grab your paint brush….and let’s go spread the teal!
Bring a new tradition to Halloween:
Why not put the focus on “giving” to others and bringing them joy. Whether your child stays home & passes out the allergy friendly items, or your child goes trick or treating & donates all the loot - both are great ways your child can help others. If you’re looking for a place to donate, some dentists have a “Halloween Candy Buyback” and they send the candy to troops overseas. You can even send a letter of encouragement to our troops too!
Or make it a family holiday…Have something fun for dinner, dress up costumes or silly looking pajamas, and eat your favorite treats while watching a movie together.
The KEY here is…The excitement you bring to the idea, will determine their excitement for doing it! You could say it like…
“I have a great idea. What if we make Halloween…Famoween (or something silly). We can watch all the kids come to the door & see all their cool costumes...it will be like a parade that comes right to our door! We can even pass out flyers that tell parents about food allergies. Then when it’s all over, we’ll make some popcorn, eat a bunch of your favorite candy, and watch your favorite movie together.”
Not only would this be fun & safe, it would build some lasting memories.
Create more food allergy awareness:
And lastly, consider printing out flyers to give the parents about food allergies and teal pumpkins, or have something posted at your house, such as FAACT's Halloween Safety Tips. Who knows, maybe you’ll increase your neighbors understanding of food allergies and next year have a neighborhood filled with teal pumpkins!
Download and print:
FAACT has a great flyer that you can download for free and pass out to the parents: 10 FAACTs about Food Allergies. Start preparing now!
About the Author:
Stacey Stratton is FAACT’s Publications Manager, and also the Founder of the AllergyFreeZone.com. Her site focuses on providing helpful Food Allergy “TIPs” – Tools, Ideas, and Products for food allergies.