Shine, little glow stick, lead us away from allergenic treats!
October 23, 2014 7:56 AM   Subscribe

I'm passing out glow sticks and glowy spiders in lieu of candy for Halloween. A Facebook friend posted a link to the Teal Pumpkin Project about kids with food allergies and Halloween treats. So, yay, my treats are allergy-safe! But my house is definitely NOT a pristine allergy-free zone. Will this be an issue? I don't want to inadvertently poison some poor trick-or-treater.

Because I do not want candy in my house (so I don't eat it!), I have decided to pass out glow sticks and glowing squishy spiders as Halloween favors this year. Then a friend passed along a Facebook link to the Teal Pumpkin Project, for kids with food allergies on Halloween. Yay - another benefit to glow sticks - I can paint a pumpkin teal and give ALL the kiddies treats! No child deprived of treats!

Since I'm not passing out candy at all this Halloween, none of my glowy treats will be cross-contaminated by fun size miniatures. However, my actual house is anything but an allergen-free zone. I eat peanuts, I eat almonds, I drink milk, etc., so there is probably a fine layer of cross-contaminants everywhere. Doing a Google search, it seems that washing my hands before doling out the glow sticks is enough. But I've heard so many stories about how small amounts of cross-contamination can trigger severe reactions in the highly allergic.

Parents of kids with food allergies, and anyone else with food allergy expertise, let me know if there is anything I should be doing besides washing my hands!
posted by Rosie M. Banks to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: There's gonna be way more harmful stuff on the carcinogen-laden glow toys than trace molecules of nut-based food on your washed (washed!) hands.

Thank you for being so concerned about this but really I think you're fine. It would be my sincere hope that any child who is truly in danger from such an infinitesimally small amount of potential nut containment would not be out running around on the one of the highest food allergy risk days of the year, as there would be more risk from Elsa and Batman eating a reeses cup 2 feet away than from anything you could possibly pass to them from your washed hands.
posted by phunniemee at 8:06 AM on October 23, 2014 [15 favorites]

If they're trick or treating they will be surrounded by allergens. If they're that sensitive that they can't handle you giving out a toy from your front door without having an allergic reaction then they shouldn't be out trick or treating.
posted by amro at 8:33 AM on October 23, 2014 [6 favorites]

Parent of food-allergic kids here: You're fine. Thank you for providing a treat alternative!
posted by BurntHombre at 8:35 AM on October 23, 2014 [3 favorites]

If the hypothetical nut particulate wafting from your open door was going to be a problem for a kid, they'd never have made it to your stoop from their plastic bubble. You're fine.
posted by cmoj at 8:56 AM on October 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

You are so thoughtful to worry about this. Washing your hands well and handing out non-food treats should be just fine. (I have anaphylaxis to several foods.)
posted by kate blank at 9:05 AM on October 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: As the mother of a child who can't have high-fructose corn syrup, honey, or fruit juice concentrates, I love you and everything you stand for -- and you'll be fine. Even the most very severe of allergies shouldn't be triggered by the level of exposure you're talking about here. The cross-contamination that most people are talking about is, like, using the same knife to chop both shellfish and fin fish, or frying the gluten-free chicken strips in the same fryer as all the gluten-full food, or making your Oat and Honey Granola Bars on the same equipment that just finished making Peanut Butter Crunch granola bars without scrubbing everything out in between. Not having non-edibles be handed out by someone who lives in a space where there are allergenic foods.
posted by KathrynT at 9:27 AM on October 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: My child is anaphylactic to peanuts. I think you are awesome. I agree with previous posters who said that this should be fine. This is not the type of cross-contamination that typically causes problems. We are very careful about cross-contamination, but we would not hesitate to accept your treats with great appreciation. Washing your hands will be totally sufficient.

Again, just want to say how wonderful I think you are :)
posted by JubileeRubaloo at 10:57 AM on October 23, 2014

Response by poster: Thank you everyone! I'm glad to hear that the cross-contamination issue is not going to be a big deal. Not having a child, nor food allergies, I'm not well-versed in this issue. And I also see phunniemee's point that kids are going to be awash in allergens from their fellow trick-or-treaters anyway.

I posted on my Livejournal to the effect that I'm going to be handing out glowy toys instead of candy this Halloween and now I've got some of my friends thinking they'll do the same thing! I can see so many advantages besides the allergy issue - no temptation in the house, and any leftovers can be stored until next Halloween instead of going bad and having to be thrown out.

I'm going to bop on down to Michael's or Target early next week to make sure I have ENOUGH glow sticks, and, anyone in the East Bay is welcome to come on by and trick-or-treat with your kids and get a glow stick!

posted by Rosie M. Banks at 12:54 PM on October 23, 2014

Not to be THAT person, but when Kinetic 3 was 6 years old he got a glow stick during our town's annual Trick or Treat event, promptly bit it open and swallowed the glowing contents.

Turns out they're not poisonous, but that was the last time the stores in our town center handed out glow sticks to little kids.
posted by kinetic at 1:28 PM on October 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

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