"PAK Connections"

Fall '09 Edition
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By Linda Marienhoff Coss

Halloween can be an especially difficult holiday for food allergic children, especially those that are very young.  “Trick-or-Treating” (i.e., going door to door throughout the neighborhood to collect candy) is quite popular in most parts of the U.S.  Many of these individually wrapped pieces of candy that are passed out on Halloween do not contain an ingredient statement, and you are likely to find that most of those that do have an ingredient statement are not safe for your child.  Some possible solutions to the “what to do about Halloween” dilemma include:

·        Stay Home.  If this is your first child, don’t take her trick-or-treating at all until she is old enough to notice that she is being left out.  Convince her that it is truly special and fun to stay home and distribute candy to the kids who come to your door. (Pity those poor other children who are missing out on the excitement of opening the door and seeing all the wonderful costumes).

·        Distribute Safe Candy to Your Neighbors.  If your child is very young and you are on good terms with your neighbors, “secretly” go around the neighborhood in advance of Halloween night and distribute safe candy for your neighbors to give to your child when you come by.  Ask them to do this in such a way that your child will not realize what’s going on.

·        Go Trick-or-Treating.  Go trick-or-treating with your child.  When you get home, sort out the safe candy from the unsafe candy (including all candy, even of familiar brands and varieties that do not contain an ingredient statement).  Remember that “snack size” candies often contain different ingredients or are produced on different machinery than the same company’s “full size” offerings. Trade the unsafe candy for safe candy which you have purchased in advance, or for a non-food “prize.” 

·        Throw a Party. On Halloween night, host a party at your home featuring fun activities and safe food.  Don’t go trick-or-treating at all.

Reprinted with permission from “How to Manage Your Child’s Life-Threatening Food Allergies”
by Linda Marienhoff Coss, available at www.FoodAllergyBooks.com.

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Linda Marienhoff Coss