Helping Kids with Food Allergies Navigate Halloween

Halloween can be downright frightful for kids with food allergies and their parents. The food-centric holiday features class parties, goodie bags, and a bounty of candy from trick or treating. Treats can be filled with dairy, nuts, and other allergy-causing ingredients.

Helping Kids with Food Allergies Navigate Halloween

(Pixabay / EME)

If you have a child with food allergies, follow these tips to take the “scary” out of the holiday.

  • Communicate. If your child is going to a Halloween party, either during or outside of school, communicate with the event’s organizers. Explain the nature and scope of your child’s allergies. If appropriate, send allergy-free alternatives for your child to enjoy.
  • Throw your own party. If you’re nervous about sending your child trick or treating, hold an alternative event. Invite friends to take part in a costume party with plenty of games. Food isn’t the only way to have fun on Halloween.
  • Take part in the Teal Pumpkin Project. This initiative encourages people to post a picture of a teal pumpkin to announce that they will be handing out non-food treats for the holiday, including glow sticks, stickers, or small toys. It’s a great way to include kids with food allergies in Halloween fun. Click here to learn more about the project.
  • Be prepared. Even when you make every effort to keep your child safe, accidents can happen. They may be exposed to food allergens that trigger reactions ranging from uncomfortable to life-threatening. Make sure that your child has an epinephrine auto-injector with them at all times and that they or a present adult know how to use it.

If your child suffers with ongoing allergies, consider pollen or food allergy treatment through sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT). With SLIT, daily drops of antigen are dispensed under the tongue and absorbed into the bloodstream. Like allergy shots, the drops can help the body develop immunity to allergens in the environment that trigger allergic reactions. Allergy drops are safer than shots, however, so they can be taken by children too young to qualify for allergy shots. Allergy drops are also safe enough to be dosed at home, saving families from having to travel to the doctor’s office a couple times a week for shots.

Visit to learn more about allergy drops for kids’ food allergy treatment.

About The Author

Stuart H. Agren, M.D.

Stuart H. Agren, M.D. completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Utah and went on to earn his Doctor of Medicine from Tulane University School of Medicine in 1974. He completed additional training at L.D.S. Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah and then established his private medical practice starting in 1975. Dr. Agren completed a mini-residency in Industrial Medicine at the Robert Johnson School of Medicine at Rutgers University and also completed training to become a certified Medical Review Officer.

Dr. Agren was the Medical Director at TRW and McDonnell Douglas in Mesa, Arizona and at Stauffer Chemical and Kennecott Copper in Salt Lake City, Utah. He also served as an adjunct faculty member at Arizona State University.

In his private medical practice, Dr. Agren specialized in family practice and allergy. In his work as a private practice allergist, he was one of the first doctors in the country to prescribe sublingual immunotherapy to his patients as an alternative to subcutaneous immunotherapy (allergy shots). He has also been a trailblazer in the field of food allergy treatment and research, developing a program to treat multiple food allergies simultaneously using sublingual immunotherapy. Dr. Agren has been featured on local CBS, NBC, and ABC news affiliates and won the peer-nominated “Top Doc” award from Phoenix Magazine.

After 20 years in private practice, Dr. Agren became the Founder and President of AllergyEasy, which helps primary care physicians around the country offer allergy testing and sublingual immunotherapy treatment to their patients. Over 200 physicians in over 32 states use the AllergyEasy program to help their patients overcome environmental and food allergies and asthma.