Halloween is one of the scariest holidays of the year – but it can be particularly frightening for someone with a food allergy and their families. Remember that one in 13 children has a food allergy – that’s roughly 2 in every classroom, with nearly 40% of those having a history of a severe allergic reaction.
There have been great advancements over the past several years in the search for a cure for the 15 million Americans diagnosed with a food allergy. Research in the development of therapies, like the food allergy desensitization studies being done by our own research department, has made great strides.
But until there is a cure for all, we continue to support organizations like Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) as they work to raise awareness and encourage inclusion for those with this life-threatening condition.
Join us in supporting FARE’s Teal Pumpkin Project, which asks people to paint a pumpkin teal to demonstrate to trick-or-treaters that you are a “safe” stop with non-food items. Ideas for these items include stickers, glow sticks, Halloween themed small toys.
“We’ve come a long way in making these kids feel included in this food-focused holiday,” says Kathleen Sheerin, MD, an allergist with Atlanta Allergy & Asthma. “It also helps parents to feel like they have support from the community when they see their friends and neighbors participating in things like the Teal Pumpkin Project.”
There are other ways to keep food allergic kids safe (and included) this Halloween, like swapping out unsafe treats once you get back home, or providing neighbors with safe treats in advance. Activities that don’t involve going door-to-door include organizing a costume party with only safe treats or having a neighborhood party with a “safe treat” area designated. Remind teachers and other parents about your child’s food allergy and help organize safe activities at school.
Most importantly, always have your emergency medications with you. Let’s make this holiday about the fun, not the food, and ensure a safe Halloween for all! Check out our tips for trick-or-treating here.