Every year around Halloween, there is lots of hype about costumes, parties, candy, and haunted houses. But kids with allergies and asthma sometimes fear that an ingredient in candy, or allergic triggers from a costume, could cause their allergy and asthma symptoms to flare up – and cause them to miss all the spooky fun.
Kids with allergies and asthma don’t need to be left out on Halloween. These 6 tips from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology can help you plan Halloween parties and trick-or-treating that kids with allergies and asthma can safely enjoy.
1. BOO who? Better think twice when it comes to Halloween masks.
Even though kids might think their costume won’t be complete without a cool mask, sometimes it’s better to skip it – particularly for kids with asthma. If a mask is a must, it should never be tight-fitting or obstruct breathing.
2. Beware! Scary makeup might be frightful to skin.
The ingredients in some Halloween makeup can cause allergic reactions.
If your child has 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 a day or two in advance to see if skin reacts.
3. Steer clear of 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. Organize a scavenger hunt around the neighborhood, have a Halloween-themed party and serve safe treats, or watch a scary Halloween movie with friends.
4. Arm against allergy and asthma 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.
5. Remember, 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, and have them bring all their treats home for Mom and Dad to check out before eating.
6. Join the teal pumpkin brigade.
Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) has a campaign to encourage awareness of food allergies. They suggest handing out 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.
If you think your child might have allergies or asthma, make an appointment with an allergist for proper testing. To find an allergist in your area, visit AllergyAndAsthmaRelief.org.
Source: American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, AllergyandAsthmaRelief.org
This article was originally published in Coping® with Allergies & Asthma magazine, Fall/Winter 2017-2018.