Trick-or-treating with food allergies

by Lindsay Lambarth, DO
Baylor College of Medicine, PGY-2
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio

Did you know that almost 40 percent of children with food allergies have experienced severe reactions? And that in the United States, 170 different foods and ingredients have been identified as the cause of allergic reactions?

Halloween can be a difficult time for children with food allergies due to the high risk of reaction when ingredients are not monitored closely.  To help keep trick-or-treating safe for children with food allergies, the Teal Pumpkin Project was created.  Teal pumpkins serve as a symbol of safety during Halloween for children with food allergies and indicate that non-food items are available.

How can you participate?

  1. Place a teal pumpkin in front of your home (classroom, office, or wherever treats are provided this season) to show that you have non-food items available.
  2. Provide non-food treats such as pencils or stickers for trick-or-treaters.
  3. Display a flyer or poster to inform others of what the teal pumpkin stands for. Follow the link below for free resources and flyers to print.

https://www.foodallergy.org/education-awareness/teal-pumpkin-project/free-resources

It’s important to remember safe trick-or-treating tips for all children during Halloween. Here are a few tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics:

  • Everyone should be able to see your child (wear bright colors or reflective devices, have flashlights or glow sticks) and your child should be able to see everyone else (make sure masks do not block their vision)
  • No child should trick or treat alone – go in pairs or groups
  • Feeding children a good meal before trick-or-treating may prevent them from eating too much candy
  • Walk on well-lit streets on the sidewalk or at the edge of the road facing traffic
  • Only go to homes with the porch light on
  • Take a cell phone if able and review with children how to dial 9-1-1

We hope you have a safe, healthy and fun Halloween!

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