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Food Allergy Resources

Safely Celebrating Halloween When Your Child Has Food Allergies

October 2008

Halloween can be fun with food allergies

Tips for dealing with Halloween parties at school and home

Celebrating Halloween
with Food Allergies

Eight pages filled with activities to replace trick-or-treating, craft recipes, Halloween games, school party ideas, and Halloween treat recipes.
Halloween with Food Allergies booklet
(requires Adobe Reader Adobe Reader)
Halloween can either be scary or fun or sometimes even both! The scary parts of Halloween are supposed to involve ghosts and witches, not the candy. Let's keep all of our gremlins, ghosts, and ghouls safe to enjoy another Halloween celebration next year. Make Halloween a Treat, not a Trick!

Dealing with Halloween at School

As the school year begins, one of the first challenges Parents of Food Allergic Kids (POFAKs) will have to face is the food-filled Halloween party. Several of our members have offered advice on how to get through it safely:

  • Make suggestions to the teacher well in advance of the party.
  • Set safe standards based on your child's IEP or 504 plan (if established).
  • Provide the snacks. It may be a small price to pay to know everything is safe.
  • Attend the classroom party so that you can monitor the situation and resolve safety concerns. If you don't stay for the entire party, at least stay long enough to check all of the food.
  • Remember your child's emotional needs and be careful about drawing unnecessary attention to his food allergies.

Trick or Treating

The school party is only half of the Halloween hurdle. We also have to keep our allergic children safe while trick-or-treating. One interesting study showed that even non-allergic children are just as happy to receive non-food treats, so parents don't need to feel guilty about handing out stickers instead of Snickers®. Below are some suggestions from our POFAKs on how to deal with trick-or-treating. The basic theme, as usual, is pre-planning:

  • Be sure to carry your child's emergency medicines with you while trick-or-treating.
  • Plan an alternative activity, such as going to the movies or a having a scavenger hunt for safe treats.
  • Bake other treats for that night, perhaps creepy foods or seasonal baked goods.
  • Pre-position safe candy at friends' houses.
  • Carry safe snacks with you while trick-or-treating.
  • Trade unsafe candy (or the entire bag) for allergen-safe treats or non-food items once your children return home. Safe candy and small party favors can be ordered online. Other non-food ideas include coloring books, pencils, stickers, stuffed animals, and play-dough. Keep in mind that play-dough contains wheat and some crayons contain soy.
  • Check all ingredients. Remember that treat-sized candy may have different ingredients or be manufactured on different machinery than their full-sized counterparts.

Other Halloween Resources

Take the Tricks out of Treats: 12 Tips for Safe Trick-or-Treating

Keep your Allergic Little Pumpkin Safe

Safe Eats Halloween Recipes

For more ideas, download KFA's free booklet with tips on safe trick-or-treating and other fun Halloween activities for food allergic children:
Celebrating Halloween with Food Allergies (requires Adobe Reader Adobe Reader)

Reviewed by KFA Medical Advisory Team October 2006; updated October 2010.

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Page last updated 7/29/2012

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