Tips and Tricks to Help Remove the Stress from Halloween

We know Halloween can be tricky for parents and children living with asthma, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), food allergies or diabetes. To help alleviate some of the stress you might be feeling, we’ve put together a few ideas to help make it a treat for you and your child this year.

Asthma

  • Have it under control. Before letting your child go trick or treating, make sure there has been no nighttime coughing, wheezing, coughing, or chest tightness with activity, and that your child hasn’t been using albuterol more than two times per week.
  • Manage triggers. Cold air, activity and mold from damp leaves on the ground can all trigger asthma. If activity or cold air is a trigger, give two puffs of albuterol prior to going outside.
  • Encourage your child to breathe through the nose or consider a scarf or covering over your child’s mouth to warm the air before it’s inhaled.
  • Be prepared. Take your child’s rescue inhaler with you and make sure your child stays hydrated.
  • Plan other fun. If your child isn’t up to going out, there may be opportunities for indoor trick-or-treating in your community, at a place such as a mall or school. You could host a craft or movie party for your child to have Halloween fun with friends in the comfort of your home.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)

  • Join in on the fun (if you want to). Participate if it’s something you’ll both enjoy, but don’t feel obligated.
  • Knock on your neighbors’ doors. Sticking to familiar areas and people may make your child more comfortable.
  • Swap the treats. If your child has dietary restrictions or allergies, take healthy snacks or treats as an alternative for your friends and neighbors to hand out.
  • Keep it comfortable—and easy. Avoid scratchy costumes by making something festive for your child to wear out of a fleece hoodie or cozy pajamas.
  • Practice at home. If your child plans to go trick-or-treating, let him try on his costume in advance and review and practice the steps with him.
  • Be prepared. Bring along useful supplies, such as a flashlight for safety, headsets to block out noise or a special toy for comfort. If your child has trouble communicating, make cards to hand out or one that reads "trick or treat." 

Food allergies

  • Make a trade. Go trick-or-treating with your kids and carry safe food or nonfood options like toys to exchange for the candy they receive if you’re unsure of its safety.
  • Have an emergency plan. Take your emergency medicines like Benadryl and an epinephrine autoinjector with you, as well as a copy of your anaphylaxis action plan, just in case there is an accidental exposure. Make sure your phone is charged and with you in case you need to call for help.
  • Check before eating. Make sure your child knows not to eat any treats before you check labels. Luckily, many treats come in individual wrappers, making it quick and easy to check for potential food allergens.
  • Do something different. Make Halloween fun with other activities like pumpkin decorating, scavenger hunts, movies or an outing to a haunted house.
  • Alert others. If your child will be attending a Halloween party at school, a friend’s house or elsewhere, talk to the adults in charge beforehand to make sure they are aware of your child’s allergy and work with them to provide safe treats for your child to enjoy. It is also a great idea to plan ahead and bring safe treats for neighbors to give to your child when you go to their houses.

Diabetes

  • Plan ahead. Talk with your child about how you’ll handle trick-or-treating and candy. Outline how much candy your child will be allowed to eat. Learn the carb count on your child’s favorites before Halloween, so you can quickly incorporate them into your regular diet and insulin plan.
  • Monitor sugars. It’s a good idea to monitor blood sugars more frequently if your child is indulging in candy or participating in Halloween parties or activities.
  • Make a trade. Have alternative treats, such as toys, stickers, games or books, to trade your child for candy.
  • Shift the focus. Plan some Halloween fun to take the focus off candy. Instead of trick-or-treating, try a Halloween movie night, pumpkin decorating or crafts, or an outing to a fall festival or haunted house.
  • Notify others. If your child will be attending a Halloween party at school, a friend’s house or elsewhere, talk to the adults in charge beforehand to make sure they know of your child’s diabetes and work with them to provide alternative treats for your child to enjoy. It is also a great idea to plan ahead and bring diabetes friendly treats for neighbors to give to your child when you go to their houses.

Keeping Kids Safe on Halloween Streets

Everyone loves a good scare on Halloween, but not when it comes to child safety. Halloween is one of the deadliest days each year for child pedestrian accidents. We want to share a few ways drivers can avoid accidents on Halloween night, as well as some tips for parents and kids to help reduce their risk of injury.

For drivers

  • Slow down. Most accidents occur between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m., when peak trick-or-treating hours coincide with people leaving work or going to and from dinner.
  • Avoid your usual shortcuts through residential streets, which are likely to be full of trick-or-treaters on Halloween night.
  • Take extra time to look for kids at intersections, or on medians and curbs. Excited little monsters may move in unpredictable ways.
  • Be patient, alert and calm. Expect heavy pedestrian traffic. Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully.
  • Turn your headlights on earlier in the day to better spot children who may be wearing dark costumes and to be visible from greater distances.
  • Eliminate any distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and look out for goblins, superheroes and other fearsome beasts.

For parents and kids

  • Decorate costumes with reflective tape and choose lighter colors, if possible. Make sure costumes fit properly and aren’t too long, to prevent tripping.
  • If you can, use face paint instead of masks, which can obstruct vision.
  • Carry glow sticks or flashlights to help you see and be seen by drivers.
  • Children younger than 12 years old should not go out without an adult. If kids are mature enough to be out unsupervised, remind them to trick-or-treat in groups and stick to familiar, well-lit areas.
  • Always walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic, or as far to the left as possible.
  • Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks. Most Halloween accidents occur away from intersections. Teach children to never dart out into the street or cross between parked cars. 

Enjoying a Happy, Healthy Halloween

We’re here to help busy parents get ready for the best Halloween ever. Our expert tips will help your family enjoy all of the “spooktacular” festivities while avoiding the Halloween sugar rush.

Halloween prep

Halloween will be here soon, bringing ghouls galore to your door. But, no matter how good our intentions are, the night can get sugary scary fast. We have tips for the best treats (no tricks here) to hand out to neighborhood kids and how to fuel your family for a night of trick-or-treating fun.

Check out our easy plan for Halloween night

Download our Halloween checklist for busy parents

13 Halloween party ideas

This year, lighten up your Halloween party food with our wickedly delicious treats. And, bring on the fun with spirited games.

Check out our favorite picks for a better “Halloween bash”

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