10 tips for handling food allergies this Halloween

Food allergies affect a growing number of children. Some of the allergens include milk, peanuts and tree nuts, all common Halloween candy ingredients. Halloween is scary enough without bringing emergency visits into the mix. Protect your child from harm this season by staying diligent, but that does not mean skipping all the festivities. There are things you can do to keep your child engaged in the holiday without fear.

10 tips for handling food allergies this Halloween

School party safety tips

For parents of children with food allergies, the scariest part of Halloween can be the candy. Don't fall for any Halloween tricks, keep your child safe this season.

1.Get involved. If your child is in school, the teacher and administration are most likely well aware of your child's allergies. Even still, at this holiday, it is important to be hands on.

2. Volunteer to help. Monitoring the situation can help sidestep serious problems. Volunteer to help at the Halloween party. If you cannot stay the entire time, stopping in at the beginning of the party to check out the treats can calm your fears and diffuse any possible problems.

3. Provide the snacks. If at all possible, bring the party food yourself, or be a part of the committee that does the ordering. Parents who do not deal daily with food allergies may not fully understand the limitations. "Just a little" of the offending food will hurt your child.

Trick or treating safety tips

Getting through the school party pales in comparison to the work involved in keeping a child with food allergies healthy while trick or treating. Keep them close to home, among friends and family if possible, and follow the following precautions.

4. Carry emergency supplies. This includes your child's medication as well as an extra bag to slip unsafe candy into as you go. Baby wipes are another emergency precaution that can keep your child safe.

5. Plan ahead. Help your neighbors or friends prepare for your child's knock on the door. Give them safe candy ahead of time to hand out to your child when you arrive.

6. Carry allowed snacks. Since you will need to look over the candy extra carefully at home, bringing a favorite safe snack can help keep the night fun. In addition, have something ready at home for kids to enjoy while you determine what treats stay and which have to go.

Alternate activities

Celebrating Halloween does not have to follow any specific path. You can opt out of the traditional and do your own thing this year.

7. Skip the hoopla altogether. Instead, look into train rides, mini-golf, bowling or other unrelated activity. Choose something your child has always wanted to try such as indoor rock-climbing to keep their mind off what they might be missing.

8. Change the focus. Arrange a scavenger hunt instead of trick or treating. Hide prizes throughout the house or yard. Invite friends to hunt, or set it up for your child alone.

9. Host a party. Instead of wishing for a truly safe alternative to a Halloween or Harvest party, host your own. Prepare themed treats that your child can enjoy.

10. Give. Take a trip to the local children's hospital. Bring some items for the playroom such as Halloween coloring books, stickers, games. A nursing home or shelter are other options.

Consider Halloween a success when you avoid danger while keeping it fun for your child. Try to avoid undue attention on the allergies; this could embarrass a child or promote teasing. Keeping the food allergy a part of the background scene is possible when you plan ahead.

Other articles by this contributor:

Dangerous Food Additives Harm Kids

Pumpkin Recipes for Halloween

Healthy Trick or Treat Snack Ideas