Halloween Candy Hazards: Kids + Pets

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Remember the Halloween candy scare of decades past? When parents and children were warned to be wary of taking candy from strangers that might be laced with drugs, poison or tainted with sharp objects?

While there’s an outside chance of these occurrences, the real Halloween candy fright is less urban myth and more everyday reality. These days, the FDA signals parents to keep an eye out for hidden allergens in candy and bacteria build-up in games like “bobbing for apples.”


Parents of children with severe nut allergies know the danger of hidden nut ingredients all too well. Ask any parent of a child with a known fatal peanut allergy, and they will tell you that they check the back of every box of processed food, every playground treat, and every school baked good for nuts. If you know your child is allergic to nuts, dairy, wheat, or other allergens, make sure to check each piece of candy. You might be surprised to find which ones contain ingredients that your child is allergic to.


Germaphobes probably note every hand dipped in a bowl of candy and every face dipped in a giant container of water. But even if you’re not a germaphobe, it might serve you to act like one during Halloween. Carry hand sanitizer with you on trick or treating adventures. As for the popular game of bobbing for apples, the FDA recommends thoroughly washing and scrubbing the apples before placing them in the water container. Better yet, they recommend a game of cutting out apples from construction paper, writing down an activity on each like, “jump on one foot for 5 seconds,” and placing them in a basket with paper clips on each. Get a pole with a magnet and have the kids fish out the apples with the pole. They each get an apple for participating.

In years past, we’ve written about Halloween safety (including candy safety tips), how to get the kids to curb the candy consumption, and what to do if your dog eats chocolate. To make it easy, here’s a round-up of our Halloween safety tips for kids:

How to keep your kids safe on Halloween

How to get kids to eat less candy

As for your dog? Every year Experts get several requests to help with dogs who ate chocolate. Read what an Expert had to say to a customer about this sticky situation:

What to do if your dog eats Halloween candy

Be safe and Happy Halloween!


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