Here are some helpful tips to help you and your kids have a fun and safe Halloween.
- Talk to your child about Halloween and what it means to stay safe. Pick a quiet time a few weeks before Halloween when you are not rushed (rather than when you’re heading out the door).
- When you talk, model the “careful, not fearful” approach, staying positive while highlighting the big rules — like carrying their epinephrine auto-injector, and not eating any of the treats while out trick-or-treating.
- Double check that your child’s auto-injectors are up-to-date.
- Talk to neighbours about your child’s food allergies. Some parents meet neighbours ahead of time and give them safe treats to hand out.
- Review your child’s emergency plan and what to do in case of a reaction. Remind your child that they should let you and others know if they are feeling unwell or they think they may be having a reaction.
- Consider hosting a party this Halloween for your child and friends. This can be a great way to celebrate for kids as well as teens.
- If you are serving treats, remember to ask about any food allergies.
- If your child is going to a Halloween party, talk to the host in advance to advise them of your child’s allergies. Discuss the menu and safe food preparation or offer to bring food for your child to eat at the party. Ask about the treat bags being given out to ensure it’s a safe option for your child. If not, arrange for an alternative treat bag that you can provide.
- Ensure your child is carrying their auto-injectors (EpiPens®) with them at all times and that whoever they are with knows where the auto-injectors are in case of an emergency and know how to use them.
- Remind your child to not eat any of the candy before they get home.
- Offer non-food treats for trick-or-treaters, like stickers and pencils.
- Participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project®. Launched in 2014 by Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), the Teal Pumpkin Project promotes safety, inclusion and respect of individuals managing food allergies. This international movement offers an alternative for kids with food allergies, as well as other children for whom candy is not an option, and keeps Halloween a fun, positive experience for all! Download and post Teal Pumpkin Project® window signs and posters.
What to do with the candy afterwards
- Some parents do a “switch witch” or a “great pumpkin”, where kids leave their treats overnight and parents exchange them for a new toy. Make a date to go to the store so your child can pick out what they would like.
- If your child is keeping the treats, plan to sort them out together. Encourage your child to read the food labels and help them determine which are the safe treats and which ones need to be discarded. This is a great time to build confidence in your child as they learn.
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