Making Halloween safe for kids with allergies

  • Article by: AIMÉE BLANCHETTE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 12, 2012 - 12:49 PM

Ingredients found in candy makes trick-or-treating trickier.

For some kids, the scares on Halloween have less to do with the tricks and everything to do with the treats.

Allergies to peanuts, milk, eggs and other ingredients commonly found in candy can make trick-or-treating a little trickier.

"As much as people have good intentions, it's difficult to know what's safe," Anna Schaber of Eagan said of her 9-year-old daughter's peanut allergy. "We've tried to keep our kids' experience of the holidays as normal as possible, still including dressing up and going door to door to trick-or-treat."

The Schaber kids wear gloves with their costumes to prevent reactions from handling unsafe candy. Once home, the loot goes through a thorough screening process: the Snickers and Reese's go to work with Dad, safe options like Skittles and Dum Dums stay home.

To help kids with allergies, the Food Allergy Support Group of Minnesota plans a food-free, costumed bowling event each year. There also will be an Allergy-free Zone at the Mall of America's Halloween Party from 5 to 8 p.m. on Halloween night.

Local blogger Missy Berggren (www.marketingmama.com) often writes of the challenges families with allergies face, especially during holiday celebrations. She says some families avoid trick-or-treating altogether, while others trade unsafe candy with a safe stash from home, or only go to predetermined "safe houses" such as friends and relatives.

"Halloween is one of the trickiest holidays for our family because of food allergies, as so much of the emphasis is on food," Berggren said. "We go trick-or-treating, but it's tough on my daughter because she feels rejected and sad at almost every house that has only chocolate candy, and is thrilled when some houses have safe candy such as Dots, Skittles or other non-food treats like pencils or stickers."

Aimée Blanchette • 612-673-1715

  • ALLERGY-SAFE HALLOWEEN PARTY

    Where: Brunswick Bowl; 7545 Brooklyn Blvd., Brooklyn Park.

    When: Noon to 1:30 p.m., Oct. 27.

    Cost: $8 per bowler; shoes are included.

    Info: www.food allergysupportmn .org/events; registration limited to the first 60 people.

    Note: The event is food-free, but water and soft drinks are allowed.

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