Saturday, October 31, 2009

How to Have a Safe Halloween Party

When I have gotten notes from my daughter's teachers in the past announcing a party in her classroom, I usually sigh and get an anxious feeling. As a parent of a child with food allergies to beef, milk, eggs, peanuts, sesame, mustard and birch pollen which is on fresh apples, there are always concerns when it comes to "parties" at school.

And this year when I found out about the Halloween party, the concerns of what foods might be served were of course on my mind. However, this year was very different from any other parties we have participated in at school.

The other parents who were helping to coordinate the party called me to see what foods would be safe to serve at the party. It was so refreshing to have so much cooperation in planning a safe party. I felt as if I was not alone in my efforts to keep my daughter safe, but that I was on a team with other parents.

After the coordinator purchased the safe foods I suggested for the party, I went over the ingredients with her over the phone. This is an extra precaution as many companies who's ingredients have been safe in the past, can add warnings on the next label which state they now are producing milk and nut products on the same equipment.

I also asked the coordinator to please ask everyone to wash their hands prior to the party. Hand washing is very important when it comes to children with food allergies. Even a trace of an unsafe food touching a safe food could cause an allergic reaction.

You can have a safe party at school if you coordinate with everyone involved. After giving the coordinator the list of safe foods, going over the ingredients and stressing the need for hand washing, the party was a success in every way.

I also made "safe" Rice Krispy Treats for the party which was a huge hit.

When other people understand the importance of having safe foods at parties and the seriousness of food allergies it is truly a gift.

My daughter had a wonderful time at the party and came home with nothing but great things to say. She was able to comfortably eat all of the foods that were served without fear of an allergic reaction.

What price can you put on feeling safe? For my daughter this was...priceless.

Stay well, stay safe and be brave.

Debra Denhart

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