East Texas parents bring awareness to food allergies and Halloween

East Texas parents bring awareness to food allergies and Halloween
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - With Halloween around the corner, children are now narrowing down their top picks for costumes. For some parents, trick or treating won't be much of a treat, because of their child's allergies.

"It was the most terrifying thing a parent can go through," said Chasity Boatman, who has a child with allergies.

Halloween is typically filled with all things scary, from zombies to skeletons. One thing some parents in East Texas fear the most, is their child having an allergic reaction from treats.

"With kids it's really hard to monitor," Boatman said. "They're getting these handfuls of candy, and while you're walking, your kid is wanting to snack and try things out. That can be really deadly for some kids."

Some East Texas parents are still learning about their child's allergies because it's something new.

"She was bleeding a lot and I took her to the doctor and they gave her an allergy test," said Benita Escalante, who has a child with allergies. "It came back that she was allergic to a lot of things."

"After having just a few cashews, within five minutes his whole body was covered in hives and swollen," Boatman said.  "My dad used to be in EMT and said that we immediately needed to get him to an emergency room."

When children are out roaming the streets in their favorite costumes, one thing that stops some from getting the full experience are the candy options.

"She wants to eat those things but she can't," Escalante said.

With popular candy favorites like Snickers and Reese's being a top choice for Halloween candy, some parents need alternative options. This is why the Food Allergy Research and Education organization has launched a teal pumpkin project to create a safer Halloween for all.

"It's so important that we have safe houses and places in the community that these kids can go to and still have the trick or treating experience without their parents having to worry that their kid is going to end up in the hospital," Boatman said.

The project wants citizens to provide alternative options for kids with allergies, which many parents find helpful.

"It would be beneficial because she would have more options," Escalante said.

"It's a good safeguard; that way, your kid gets the same experience as everyone else," Boatman said. "As a parent, you have that calm feeling that my kid is not going to have an allergic reaction, we're not going to the hospital today on Halloween."

On Halloween, Marco's Pizza will give the first 100 children free bags of candy as part of the Teal Pumpkin Project. All the candy given will be allergen-free.

Experts urge you to always read the ingredient label of every piece of candy before your child eats it, even if it's a brand your child often eats.

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