How to Trick or Treat With Food Allergies

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Trick or Treating can present a number of decisions for an allergy parent. It’s important to have a strategy and communicate it to your children before heading out. Use this guide to create a plan that matches your family’s approach to food allergies and make Halloween as fun and safe as possible.

1. Determine what candy is okay to accept. First, decide if you will accept candy that clearly contains your allergens. Then, consider what to do when you are unsure or warning labels may be present.

2. Make a plan. Decide if your child is going to the door by themselves or if you will accompany them.

3. Provide a script. If your child is going to the door independently and is offered candy, arm them with language to politely decline if needed. For example, “No, thank you. I’m allergic”.

4. Address non-allergic siblings. Decide if the same rules for your allergic child apply to their non-allergic siblings, and make sure everybody knows how you're going to handle it ahead of time.

5.  Review, trade, and purge. When you review the haul at the end of the night, be prepared with some swap options should you need to take any candy away. Have a supply of safe candy to trade, or offer a small amount of money for each piece. Options to get rid of the unsafe candy can include: handing it out to other trick or treaters, donating it, or choosing to cheat and eat (a commonly used term for eating food containing your child’s allergens, typically in the pantry or garage with the lights dimmed).