What are the horrors of Halloween? Many might say encountering a gruesome ghoul or a blood-sucking vampire is the most horrific part of Halloween. However, an allergic reaction can be just as scary as ghosts and goblins on Halloween.
The candy a child eats, the makeup kids use as part of their costumes or even the costumes, themselves, can cause an allergic reaction. Parents and kids need to be careful and exercise their due diligence to avoid possible allergens.
According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, Halloween makeup can trigger an allergic reaction or symptoms of asthma. Inexpensive makeup may contain preservatives that can cause a rash and swelling of the skin. Formaldehyde is a very common preservative used in many of these products, but some products labeled “formaldehyde-free” can still cause allergic reactions. Certain makeup is not advisable to use around the mouth or eyes, so be certain to check all packaging for any warnings. High-quality theater makeup may be a better option than the cheap crayon sticks sold at costume stores. In any event, always test makeup on a small area of the skin well in advance of Halloween. If a rash or any abnormality occurs, do not use the makeup.
Costumes can induce an allergic reaction as well. If costumes are older and packed away in a basement or attic, trapped dust and dust mites can make it difficult for those with allergies or asthma to breathe. Accessories used for many common Halloween costumes also may cause reactions. Crowns, magic wands and faux jewelry that use metals like nickel may cause rashes and irritation. Beware of nickel and cobalt, which can trigger allergic reactions.
Those who want to create a spooky environment at their Halloween parties should be advised that fog machines can trigger asthma attacks in some people. It’s best to check with party attendees before firing up the fog machine.
Food allergies abound in children and adults. Many commercially produced candy and chocolate bars are manufactured in factories that also process peanuts and other tree nuts, so exercise caution with treats. Baked goods may contain wheat, gluten, eggs, soy and any number of other food allergens. It’s wise to have a variety of inedible treats available for trick-or-treaters or partygoers, including stickers, pencils and small toys.
Halloween should be an enjoyable day for the young and the young at heart. This beloved holiday can be made safer by avoiding common allergy triggers.