Halloween is definitely one of my favorite nights of the year. I love seeing all the youngsters out and about in my neighborhood wearing their spooky, cute, and funny costumes.
Last Halloween was my daughter’s first big holiday since being diagnosed with a chocolate allergy. I was more than a little nervous about her school parties, expecting a call from the nurse at any moment. Thankfully, she navigated the events (with the help of her terrific teacher) without incident, and our trick-or-treating went off without a hitch as well.
Much of this is due to the fact that Julia, then 6, was already well aware of her allergy and comfortable self-advocating. She always asks whether foods have chocolate in them and takes the extra step to explain that it’s an important question, as she is allergic. Of course, that’s all well and good when a child self-advocates this way. But many children do not or cannot, which can make Halloween more than a little intimidating for their parents.
Lately, we've talked a bit here on the Lauren's Hope blog about creating an allergy-friendly or chocolate-free Halloween: wearing medical alert jewelry while trick-or-treating, talking with teachers and caregivers, planning special food and non-food treats, and so on. For kids with food allergies, epilepsy, type one diabetes, special needs, and chronic health conditions, there are a lot of considerations this time of year, however, there are lots of things we can also do to keep everyone -- those with medical conditions and not -- safe this Halloween.
Halloween is a fun time, filled with treats and crafts and excitement. For adults and children with chronic conditions such as food allergies, type one diabetes, autism, or epilepsy, however, Halloween is sometimes a little scary, and not in the fun way. Protecting our kids and ourselves from the very real dangers of this fun season can be a real challenge, which means planning ahead is essential.