(NEW YORK) -- All the Halloween sweet treats, fun costumes, and spooky decorations are fun for parents and kids, but those same holiday staples can be truly frightful when it comes to children's allergies.
Allergy specialists say food allergy triggers are their biggest concern on Halloween, but there are other items that can cause dangerous reactions in children.
"The most common childhood allergies are peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, eggs and milk, and these are certainly in a lot of candies," said Dr. Scott Sicherer, professor of pediatrics at the Jaffe Food Allergy Center at The Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York.
One of the most important things to do is to check what's in the candy. That's especially true, allergists say, if candy or treats don't have ingredients listed on the labels or have no labels at all.
If parents suspect their children may have food allergies, they should avoid any candy or baked goods with unknown ingredients. Children should also be taught to politely decline homemade treats.
Parents should also carry emergency medication with them, such as an epinephrine auto-injector and antihistamines.
The ACAAI considers costumes another potential Halloween hazard.
"Watch out for nickel in costume accessories, from cowboy belts and pirate swords to tiaras and magic wands," the academy warns. "Nickel is one of the most common causes of allergic contact dermatitis, which can make skin itchy and spoil trick or treating fun." Parents should also check costume labels in case of latex allergies.
They also recommend washing old Halloween costumes in hot water if they are going to be re-used.
Kids may be excited about their Halloween transformation into vampires or zombies, but some of the makeup they use could trigger skin allergies.
Face paints should wash off easily, and hypoallergenic makeup is the best option, according to the National Jewish Medical Center.
Children prone to red, itchy skin or eczema should not wear any kind of greasy face paint.
The ACAAI recommends using better-quality theater makeup, and also suggests testing makeup on a small area of skin before Halloween, since it can take a few days for an allergic reaction to occur.
And while fog machines can help create some scary holiday fun, they can also be dangerous for some children.
The chemical can irritate the airway, similar to smoke and other air pollutants.
Finally, although part of the holiday fun is all about the thrill of feeling scared, those emotions can lead to breathing problems in some children. Being out in the cold air and running from house to house can trigger asthma.
But just because some elements of traditional Halloween could bring about respiratory problems, that doesn't mean kids and adults can't have fun as long as they're prepared, experts say.
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