October 2015

Between dodging vampires in haunted houses and listening to tales of terror, Halloween can be a scary time of make-believe for children in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, and throughout Hampton Roads. But for children with food allergies, Halloween can be a real, horrifying experience.

Following are some Halloween safety tips from the food allergy doctors at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology that we hope will make your Halloween safe and enjoyable:

1. B.Y.O.P. (Bring Your Own Pumpkin). Join the kids and carry your own jack-o-lantern. Fill it with snacks and candy that are safe for your little ones to eat. Be sure to have emergency epinephrine on hand just in case your child eats something they shouldn’t. Is asthma also a problem? Carry an inhaler in your pumpkin since running door to door and kicking up moldy leaves can spur asthma attacks.

2. Hold a Candy Swap. When you get home from trick-or-treating, have a candy swap with your children. If you have children without allergies, have them trade their safe candy for candy your other child might not be able to eat. Or you can trade allergy-free candy and age appropriate items, such as a stuffed animal or coloring book, to exchange with your child.

3. Read Labels Carefully. According to our food allergy doctors, just because a candy doesn’t contain milk, soy, wheat, nuts or peanuts doesn’t mean it’s safe to eat. Hard candies may be manufactured at plants that have these airborne allergens. Gelatin and food additives can also spur reactions in those that are allergic. Even if you know a candy doesn’t contain an allergen and isn’t processed at a plant that contains allergens, it can be bagged with other candies that are.

4. Start New Traditions. If trick-or-treating still has you worried, try starting a new tradition. Start a Halloween scavenger hunt around your neighborhood in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, or Portsmouth, or stay in and play Halloween themed games. Seeing a scary movie or going out to dinner can be a fun way to spend the evening as well.

5. Get Creative with Costumes. Search for a costume that might include the use of gloves to ensure your little one doesn’t come in contact with certain foods. Have more than a food allergy? Many costume accessories, such as jewelry and swords, can contain allergy-causing nickel. Get creative and make pieces with cardboard or opt for plastic over nickel.

6. Don’t let your food-allergic child trick-or-treat alone, and always make sure they carry their autoinjectable epinephrine with them.

If you live in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth or Hampton Roads and have questions about food allergies, please call us at any of our 3 locations listed below. Our food allergy doctors are here to help you.

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About our food allergy doctors
Since 1951, our food allergy doctors have provided outstanding care for children and adults with food allergies in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, and Hampton Roads.