Tips for Trick-or-Treating Safely on Halloween

halloweenblogEvery year, millions of children look forward to Halloween – planning their costumes and anticipating loads of candy. But kids with food allergies – and their parents — must approach Halloween with caution (and diligent label-reading!).

Many candies are off limits for kids with food allergies, either because their allergen is an included ingredient or because of the risk of cross-contact.

The good news is that Halloween can be just as much fun for kids with food allergies. Here are some tips for a safe trick-or-treating experience:

  • Stock up on safe treats or inexpensive trinkets/toys to trade for any unsafe candies your child might receive while trick-or-treating. You can also use sorting through your child’s candy as an opportunity to teach him or her about hidden allergens and reading labels.
  • Enforce a “no eating while trick-or-treating” rule, so that you have time to review all food labels.
  • Avoid candy and treats that do not have an ingredient label.
  • Always have an epinephrine auto-injector available, if prescribed.
  • Keep in mind that the mini-size, fun-size, or bite-size version of candy may contain different ingredients than their full-size counterparts. Make no assumptions, and read all labels carefully.
  • Keep the emphasis on the fun, rather than the candy.
  • Consider starting a tradition by allowing their kids to leave their unsafe candies out for the “Good Witch” to collect and leave behind small gifts and safe treats.
  • Consider making small and safe “goody bags” for neighbors to give to your child. Deliver the bags in advance and describe your child’s costume to your neighbors. Encourage your child to trick-or-treat at the houses in which you’ve delivered the bags.
  • Consider skipping trick-or-treating, and have a Halloween party instead, featuring safe and delicious treats. Or, skip the treats altogether by replacing them with other fun Halloween toys, games, or party favors.
  • Remember that a candy that has been safe for your child in the past may now have different ingredients. Read the label, every time.

We wish you a happy and safe Halloween!

9 thoughts on “Tips for Trick-or-Treating Safely on Halloween

    1. As a teen with allergies, I’ve developed a plan that I’ve used over the majority of the halloweens. I always go with a group of 5 of my friends, and then we have “the candy sort” when we get home. The “candy sort” is where we all dump our bags of candy on the floor and separate the candy that is safe with the candy that isn’t. I then trade the candies that I can’t eat with my friends, so that everyone gets candy that they like. My mom has a safe cake that we can all eat while we sort.

  1. young moms are very lucky to have all of this wonderful advice. & support, that as a Monod z now 22 year old I did not have!

    I especially love the tip about leaving the candy with allergens out for the good witch to replace with toys. That’s just brilliant!

  2. We do a version of what many dentists do: After sorting through the candy, we buy back the unsafe candy. When the kids were small, we swapped out candy with safe candy from our “safe candy bowl” but as they have gotten older, we’ve been happy with this newer strategy. It provides the kids with some spending money and reduces their candy intake.

    1. We do the same. We pay 10 cents per piece of candy which most years comes out to about $6-7 per child. They can then buy safe candy at the store, a book, a toy, or put the money in their piggy bank. The kids still get to have fun and always enjoy having a little spending money afterward. Their candy is then donated elsewhere.

  3. Last year we went trick or treating with my son for the first time. We had two bags. One in which he did his trick or treating with and the other with safe candy that we purchased. When we got home he got the safe candy bag and the other candy was given out when the kids came to the door. No waist and everyone was happy.

Leave a Reply