Food allergies don't have to scare kids on Halloween

Many things scare children on Halloween, but food allergies don't have to be one of them.

Dr. Sandra Hong, an allergist at Cleveland Clinic, recommends parents of children with food allergies come prepared with a few tricks and treats of their own.

"I ask that they bring their own treats when they go trick-or-treating. At that time, I want them to have Epi-Pens with them. I want them to encourage their kids not to eat unless they've brought some safe snacks for them, and I want the parents to take a look at all of them before the kids actually eat them," she says.

The most common food allergies are milk, eggs, wheat, soy, peanuts and tree nuts.

Dr. Hong says chocolate candy is the most worrisome as it often contains several of these common allergens.

She says educating children who are allergic about the rules of what not to eat on Halloween is critical.

She suggests parents of kids with food allergies drop off safe treats at their neighbor's houses so when the children trick-or-treat, there's an allergy free option to drop in the goodie bag.

Another idea is to have safe treats at home, so when kids return from trick-or-treating they can trade something that contains an allergen for something safe to eat.

Parents can also keep their eyes open for homes participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project.

"You either paint a pumpkin teal and put it on your doorstep, or you actually just print out a wonderful picture of it. Put it up so children know it's a home that's going to have non-food items," she explains.

If you're looking to give away non-food, allergy-safe treats this Halloween; Dr. Hong says pencils, glow-in-the-dark items or small toys are all spook-tacular options.

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