You want your next party to be fun for all your guests. But what if one or more of them have allergies that come with serious (even life threatening) symptoms?
To start, consider that avoiding triggers is an important step in managing allergies. And with a little extra planning and care, allergies won’t get in the way of a good time — for anybody. Here’s how:
- Use invitations to gather info. Whether printed or online, ensure your invitation asks about allergies or special dietary needs. If you’re hosting a party for kids, get as much information as possible from the child’s parents — especially if they plan on dropping them off.
- Ask parents or adult guests for help or to bring allergy friendly food. Some children with severe allergies may not be able to attend as many social functions as those without. That’s why their parents are usually happy to help ensure their kids have allergy-friendly fun.
- Know about medications. For both children and adults, you should know how to administer their emergency medication — like auto-injectors — and their emergency plan, including contact information (especially a child’s parents).
- Be honest about your comfort level. Let parents know if you’re not comfortable being responsible for children with allergies. They’ll understand because, like you, they want their child to be safe.
- Consider striking common allergens from your menu — especially if your party is an open house with no set guest list. When it comes to food allergies, the 10 most common substances include eggs, milk, mustard, peanuts, seafood (fish, shellfish and crustaceans), sulphites, sesame, soy, tree nuts, and wheat and other grains containing gluten.
- Be allergy-smart with decorations and toys. Latex allergies have become more common in the last few years. Some reactions (while uncommon) may be life threatening.So, limit decorations, toys and craft supplies to those that are free of natural rubber latex, or purchase substitutes:
- Erasers, craft supplies, masks — look for vinyl or silicone products
- Balloons, Koosh balls, rubber ducks, soccer balls, volleyballs, racquets with taped handles — purchase foil balloons and leather balls
- Bandages, first-aid tape — look for brands that specify they don’t contain natural rubber latex
- Let the dogs (and cats) out. Pet allergies symptoms can range from sneezing, runny nose and itchy, watery eyes to difficulty breathing and chest tightness. Before guests arrive, restrict your pet(s) to a room away from the party or outside, vacuum carpeting and furniture, remove area rugs if you can, mop floors, and use a damp cloth on hard surfaces.
- Plan perfect prizes, loot bags and party favours. Hosting a competitive game night with your friends? Or maybe you’re looking forward to watching kids play traditional party games? Whatever the situation, give non-food (and non-latex) items as prizes, gift bags or party favours.