For kids, Halloween is pretty much all about trick-or-treating and the candy. But for kids with a chronic condition, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), most candy may not be on the menu. In some cases, if the IBD is in a severe flare, trick-or-treating and candy may not be possible at all. Here are some tips to help your little one with IBD better enjoy Halloween without all the candy
1. It's All About the CostumeMake Halloween all about the costume instead of all about the candy. Work with your child to create a one-of-a-kind costume instead of buying a ready-made one.
2. Easy OffMake sure the costume is one that the child can get on and off easily by herself, in case she needs to use the restroom while wearing it.
3. School Halloween PartiesAdvise the school of your child's condition in order to circumvent problems that may occur at the school Halloween party. Let teachers know about any foods that your child should not have, such as nuts or apples. Or, if you're able, attend the school party as a volunteer.
4. Trick-or-TreatingIf you can go trick-or-treating, keep it brief and close to home, especially if your child is in a flare or recovering from one. Not having a restroom close by can be stressful for people who have IBD. Try finding an indoor venue with convenient restrooms, such as a mall, that gives out candy.
If trick-or-treating is not possible, consider throwing a party at your house for your child and their friends. There may be other parents who would rather their children attend a house party than go out trick-or-treating.
6. Mom, I Want CandyIf your child's physician or dietitian thinks that some candy is OK, you'll want to go through the treat or treat bag carefully to remove any candy that could trigger symptoms. Difficult to digest items, such as nuts, can be removed, along with any candies that you know may cause your child problems.
7. Halloween In The HospitalIf your child is in the hospital, you can still put together a costume and arrange for some low-key games and activities in the pediatrics ward. Contact the volunteer group at the hospital to see what resources are available.
8. Party With Your Support GroupAsk your child's gastroenterologist or contact the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America to find a children's or teen support group. The support group may organize IBD-friendly holiday parties for members and their families.
9. When Candy is Off the MenuIf candy is not appropriate at all, try giving out other small toys or gifts with a Halloween theme, such as vampire teeth and toy "slime". Give these out to trick-or-treaters that come to your house, also.