Halloween is just around the corner. Every year there is lots of hype about costumes, parties, candy and haunted houses during this time. But kids with allergies and asthma sometimes fear that an ingredient in candy, or allergic triggers from a costume could start their allergy and asthma symptoms.
"There are some simple ways to keep kids safe on Halloween," said allergist Bryan Martin, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). "Keep certain common sense tips in mind as you prepare for the holiday. A little preparation can ensure your little ones don't suffer from allergic reactions or asthma attacks."
Following are six tips from ACAAI to help plan Halloween parties and trick-or-treating.
Scary makeup might be frightful to skin - The ingredients in some Halloween makeup can cause allergic reactions. If your child suffers from eczema or another allergic skin condition, beware. Consider using high quality hypoallergenic makeup - or wear a hat instead! If you'll be using makeup, make sure to test it on a small patch of skin in advance to see if skin reacts.
Tricky treats - Kids with food allergies can find Halloween particularly frightful. There's the chance they could accidentally eat something they're allergic to and have a severe reaction. If trick-or-treating has you worried, consider starting some new traditions. Start a scavenger hunt around the neighborhood, have a Halloween-themed party and serve safe treats, or watch a scary Halloween movie with friends.
Arm against goblins! - If trick-or-treating is part of your plan, be well prepared. Parents of kids with allergies should carry a charged cell phone, emergency epinephrine and a bag of safe treats in case your child wants to munch along the way. Make sure kids with asthma are taking their controller medications and have a reliever inhaler with them. Their asthma could flare up after running through moldy leaves or a fog machine.
Candy is dandy, if it's safe - If your child goes trick or treating, it's important to check their candy before they eat any. If there's no label on the candy, which can happen with mini-sized treats, it's not safe for your child with food allergies. Tell your kids to say "no thank you" to a treat they know isn't safe, or bring all their treats home to have Mom and Dad check them out before eating. Drop off safe treats with neighbors so your child can trick-or-treat.
Join the teal pumpkin brigade - Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) has a campaign to encourage awareness of food allergies. They suggest non-food treats and painting a pumpkin teal - the color of food allergy awareness - to place in front of your house. A teal pumpkin lets trick-or-treaters know you have non-food treats for those with food allergies. Consider these allergy-safe ideas even if your kids aren't food-allergic.