Is it possible to have children with allergies and not worry during Halloween? For families with children who suffer from allergies, the joyous spirit of Halloween can be overshadowed by the lurking concerns surrounding potential allergens. 

About 32 million Americans suffer from food allergies, with 5.6 million of them being children under the age of 18. This will only increase as time passes, but where are these allergies coming from? And how can parents/loved ones decrease children's exposure, especially for Halloween? There is no one simple answer to these shared questions.

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Why so many food allergies?

Theory #1: It’s the lack of infections.

As the prevalence of allergies continues to rise, researchers have tried to understand their origins. There has yet to be one concrete explanation. One theory, put forth by British researchers, is that children are not getting as many infections. When they fight off parasitic infections, they are using the same tactics as tackling allergies. As we live in a cleaner world, children are less susceptible to germs that used to be common. Also, with fewer parasitic infections, the immune system starts turning to things that might have initially been harmless.

Theory #2: More Vitamin D, please.

Some U.S. researchers have shown that a Vitamin D deficiency in early childhood can lead to more allergies later in life. In addition, those with less Vitamin D are more likely to have skin infectious diseases like eczema. The rate of Vitamin D deficiency in the US has almost doubled over just a decade.  

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Theory #3: Enjoy peanuts early in life.

A third theory includes the importance of allergy antibodies. One of the many organizations testing this hypothesis is the Learning Early About Peanut Allergies (LEAP) study being conducted at King’s College in London. They are finding that "early childhood exposure to peanuts decreases the risk of developing peanut allergy and that this tolerance to peanuts remains after one year of not eating peanuts."

Halloween's SpookyChallenges

Standard Halloween treats, such as candies, chocolates, and baked goods, can contain nuts, dairy, and gluten allergens. This can lead to anxiety for parents, who must carefully inspect every treat their child receives to ensure their safety.

Here are 3 tips for a safe and enjoyable Halloween:
  • Teach Allergy Awareness: Educate your child about their allergies and the importance of not consuming  treats without checking with an adult first. Encourage them only to accept treats if they are sure about the ingredients.
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  • Emergency Allergy Plan: Have an up-to-date allergy plan, teach your children about their Epi-pen and what to do if they have an allergic reaction
  • Participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project: This initiative encourages households to place a teal-colored pumpkin outside their door to signal that they offer non-food treats, promoting inclusivity for children with allergies.

Halloween is a time for fun and imagination; no child should feel left out due to allergies. By understanding the origins of allergies and taking proactive steps to navigate Halloween safely, families can ensure that every child can participate in the festivities regardless of their allergies. 

Still looking for options, here are suggestions: Annies Gummies, Enjoy Life Chocolate! YumEarth Halloween candies, NoWhey Candy , Free2b candies, Madegood granola bars, Rule Breaker snacks, and Every body Eat snacks.

Louisa Purinton

Louisa is a Tufts University senior studying psychology and entrepreneurship. At Compass Marketing, she leads all Social Media and Content marketing efforts in addition to assisting with business development activities.

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