Navigating Halloween with Food Allergies

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Navigating Halloween with Food Allergies

For those with food allergies, ghosts and bats aren’t the only scary parts of Halloween: just the sight of the candy bag, full to the brim, can be intimidating. While trick-or-treating can be the highlight of Halloween for many children, the treats they receive often contain common allergens such as peanuts, tree nuts, milk and egg. For kids with mild to moderate food allergies, eating Halloween sweets can cause symptoms such as hives, facial or eyelid swelling, nausea and/or vomiting. Others who are severely allergic may experience anaphylaxis, a life-threatening reaction. Fortunately, food allergies don’t have to keep kids from enjoying the festivities. We at The Allergy & Asthma Center, LLC have compiled a guide to ensure the entire family has a safe, fun Halloween!

Host food-free Halloween activities.

There are plenty of food-free alternatives. Costume contests, festive movies and scavenger hunts never go out of style.

Have a trick-or-treating game plan.

Be sure that your child with food allergies does not trick-or-treat alone, and that adults and friends who are with your child are familiar with avoidance techniques and emergency procedures. Your child should always have autoinjectable epinephrine on hand, especially while trick-or-treating.

Stay informed, and double-check nutritional facts.

When it comes to fun-size versions of candy and other Halloween sweets, you can’t always tell whether the treat is allergen-free or not, because the complete nutritional facts of fun-size candy bars tend to be printed on the original package rather than the individual candy wrapper. It never hurts to double-check when health is involved — some candies may contain unexpected allergens.

Have a candy swap.

After a fun night of trick-or-treating, switch it up with a bartering system. Kids with food allergies can exchange unsafe candies for safe treats (homemade sweets or allergen-free candies) or toys. A food-allergic child can even trade with an allergy-free sibling, assuming both parties establish rules ahead of time. If there aren’t multiple kids to make for an even trade, you can encourage your child to swap with friends.

There’s no getting around it: Kids with food allergies can’t eat all the treats they may want to. But with a little planning and ingenuity, there are plenty of ways to make Halloween a spooktacular time for everyone! Feel free to reach out to your allergist online at or call us, so you and your child can focus on enjoying the season.