Hosting a Halloween party this week? Getting ready to go out with a trick or treat bucket in your community? Preparing treats to hand out when those little knocks at the door come on Wednesday night?
Can I implore you to consider those children at your door, or those adults at your party who may be allergy sufferers? These days we don’t think twice about asking if people are vegetarian or even vegan – yet how many of us ask if guests or visitors suffer from any kind of food allergy or intolerance?
While it may be horrific to someone who is vegetarian or vegan to eat the wrong type of food due to their moral decisions around their diet – for someone like me, it can be a killer.
Literally if I go into anaphylactic shock, I have moments to act. My allergies are so severe that I have to be escorted through duty free at an airport in case strong smells cause a reaction, I have to avoid travelling on any aircraft where peanuts are being served as I cannot come into any kind of contact with them and I have to vet everything I eat all day every day.
I do believe that those of us who do suffer from allergies or food intolerances should not hide away and pretend ‘it’s not really a problem’ – we should not suffer in silence and avoid those key annual moments like Halloween.
Here are my tips for taking positive action around events like Halloween:
- Talk about your allergies in advance- don’t hide them and raise awareness with the people in your life eg. wider family, friends, acquaintances, neighbours and work colleagues.
- If you are going to a party, don’t be afraid to offer your host some helpful advice about good food or snacks which are allergy safe or, if finances allow, take some snacks to ensure you can eat safely.
- If suffer from allergies yourself and you are an adult hosting a party, be authentic to your situation and offer a food spread which would works for you to show that having issues around diet doesn’t mean food cannot be good. For trick or treat, perhaps have nut-free options only or a separate bowl/tray for allergy friendly options.
- Follow the advice of the people behind the Teal Pumpkin Project – for trick or treat you could offer non-food related treats for kids that come around – puzzles, games, colouring books. Apart from anything else it’s fun for all children to get a variety of options when it comes to ‘treats’. If you go for the teal-coloured pumpkin, explain why your pumpkin is different.
- Always have help at hand if you are a party host and you know someone is coming with food allergies or intolerances. Do a little research on how anaphylactic shock manifests and what you should do if it happens. If you are unsure and you know you have a guest with allergies, ask them for the strategy they follow in case they go into shock.
- For me the process is:
- The realisation of having the allergy is sets in within a couple of seconds, and I know I have to try and bring the allergy down before it gets worse.
- My eyes start to itch, my lips start to swell
- Next comes the little white spots
- Then my throat feels like its closing and I cannot breathe
- I rush to dose my face and throat with freezing cold water and Ice
- Ice bath also helps me or freezing cold shower
- Take Piriton which is an antihistamine (Not Piritease as they are very different)
- If I find that the allergy is not getting any better, I will need to have my Epi-Pen and then call 999. I try to bring my allergy down myself with the most natural ways possible before using the Epi-Pen, but because I know my own limits I can know when I need to have it.
- Always tell the person you’re with that you have an Epi-pen just in case as a fail safe, as you never know how bad the allergy can get or how fast this can happen.
- Some allergies are different to others and literally a whiff of nuts or a perfume I’m allergic to can set me off instantly and I can’t breath skipping all the signs.Remember having an allergy and going into anaphylactic shock is scary and everyone deals with it in different ways, so this is just personal to me, if you have other ways of dealing with it please do share as it really does help others out there to know they are not alone.
I hope these simple steps will help you and everyone around you enjoy a spooky but safe Halloween!
*If you are hosting a Halloween party or wanting to order some allergy-friendly snacks please visit our site. We particularly recommend the Carrot Cake Free-From Snack Bar and our brand new Chocolate Chip Muffin Mix or Wholegrain Banana Bread Mix!*