The Teal Pumpkin Project encourages people to have non-food treats on hand to give out on Halloween, an accommodation for kids with food allergies or who otherwise can't eat candy. Photo from Michelle Fandrich.
Cox Media Group National Content Desk
From bobbing for apples at a party to devouring a bucket of candy, food is definitely a big part of enjoying Halloween. But it can also lead to problems such as food-related illnesses, allergic reactions or even incidents such as choking.
The following top Halloween food safety tips from the FDA and the CDC will help keep your guests and little ghosts and goblins safe.
Prevent an allergic reaction If your child has a food allergy, the following can let them enjoy their Halloween haul while avoiding any problematic foods:
Look for teal pumpkins Families who display teal pumpkins offer non-candy treats for trick-or-treaters who may have allergies.
Check all treats Make sure your child knows not to eat any candy before you check it at home. Look for ingredient lists on pre-packaged candy, and throw out any homemade treats since you can’t positively identify their ingredients.
Buy treats for your child Buy some small trinkets (check out the non-candy suggestions listed below) to give your children on Halloween. That way, if they end up not being able to eat much of their candy, they won’t feel left out.
Check for signs of tampering Although tampering with candy is rare, it does happen. The CDC recommends consuming only factory-sealed food items. Look for any evidence of the following:
An unusual appearance
Tears in wrappers
Throw out homemade treats unless they’re from someone you know very well. If something looks suspicious, throw it out, and if you find actual evidence of tampering, notify the police.
Eliminate choking hazards Some Halloween treats can be choking hazards, especially for small children. Look through their bags to eliminate the following:
Gooey candy like caramel, taffy or marshmallows
Small toys such as balls or marbles
In addition, make sure kids don’t lie down when they’re eating their Halloween candy, since this can increase their risk of choking.
Make sure treats you serve at home are safe Candy from outside your home isn’t the only possible treat-related danger. If you’re hosting a Halloween party or planning other holiday activities for your family, take the following precautions:
Clean fruit If you’re bobbing for apples, rinse them thoroughly and use a produce brush.
Avoid raw dough Don’t eat raw cookie dough or cake batter, which can contain bacteria.
Refrigerate properly Don’t leave food out on the table or counter for too long. Keep items refrigerated until they’re ready to serve, and don’t leave perishable foods out for more than two hours.
Offer non-food alternatives You don’t have to limit yourself to handing out candy. Kids enjoy small toys or other treats, and you won’t have to worry about allergies or stuffing them with too much candy. Dollar stores are great places to pick up multiple items packaged together, such as the following: