MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Soon the streets will be filled with princesses, zombies and vampires looking to quench their thirst for candy. If your child has a food allergy, you may be on the fence about letting them trick-or-treat. Local Dieticians say you can let your kids safely enjoy the holiday by taking a few extra steps.
Since 1997, 50 percent more kids have food allergies. It's been puzzling the CDC, which can't explain why. Kids like their independence, but at the end of the day, the best way to keep an eye on your child is to go with them as they collect candy door to door.
"Sometimes you can ask the person at each house, 'does this candy have nuts in it', or just be aware yourself what candies they're allowed to eat," Kelly Snow, a Registered Dietician for Grand Strand Medical Center.
Even if you're handing out candy but your kids don't have food allergies, this year houses are asked to have a teal pumpkin outside to let kids and parents know you're handing out non-food or allergy-free treats.
"The most important tip, I would say, is to have your epi-pen with you in case that does happen while you're out, and your allergic medications," Snow advises.
Snow says you could always pull a Halloween trick of your own. "The child will go out and trick-or-treat and just grab whatever they can get. And you have a bag of candy that you know your child is able to get. And you just switch it out without them knowing, so you feel safe eating the right thing once you've switched out that bag," Snow suggests. That way mom and dad get some treats of their own.
And don't forget about other members of your family. Chocolate is lethal for dogs, and tonight is the busiest of the year for the animal poison control center because of chocolate ingestion. Remember to keep your candy up high and out of reach for four-legged friends.