With an eye on the food allergy community as a unique group of consumers since 2008, we're on a quest to find and share ways to continue enjoying the good things in life.

24 November 2009

Food Allergy Tips for the Movie Theater

We recently went to see the new Christmas Carol movie at the IMAX Theater at Jordan's Furniture in Natick, MA. The theater is very nice, smaller than I expected, and I was surprised that I actually felt cold when the 3D snowflakes fell. Do they have air blowers discretely placed in there or was the 3D that convincing?

We never buy popcorn at the theater. I don't think there are peanuts in the popcorn per se, just don't know what's in that butter or how clean anything is back there, plus it's terribly expensive to buy movie theater treats so we just skip it. Even in the summer, I make sure my peanut allergic son wears pants--not shorts--in case there is residue from peanut butter cups or other peanut butter candies. (He is very sensitive to skin contact.)

I cannot imagine how corn allergic individuals can go to a movie. What extra measures do other food allergic individuals take when they go to the movies? I bet I am not the only person with food allergies in the family who wonders what invisible risks rest on those seats!

If you have some helpful movie theater tips for food allergies, please share them in a comment below. Do you, for example, bring something to cover the seat? What do you do? Has anyone actually experienced a skin contact reaction at a movie theater? Tell us about your experience!


Karen said...

This summer we went to the drive in. We brought our own chairs and ignored the "no out side food" signs we just brought drinks anyway.

Hint for drive ins arrive early so you can move your car, if you park near smokers.

Anonymous said...

My daughter is still a little young for movie theaters. However, my husband keeps wanting to take her to the movies. She is VERY contact sensitive to milk. When we do take her for the first time, we plan on leaving our other children with a sitter so if we have to leave early they are not upset. We will put a sheet down on the seat, and clean the armrests and any other hard surface around her we can, before we let her sit down. For a treat we may let her have a bag of twizzlers and bottled water, after we clean the outside of it. The long pants and long sleeves wearing sounds like a good idea to me. I am concered about the airborne milk particles from all the butter. We'll just watch and listen to her more than the movie probably. . .

Pat said...

I have multiple food allergies including peanuts and tree nuts. I don't buy any food from the theater concessions either, and try to find the cleanest seats I can. Usually that's in the back row, or in the more unpopular seats off to the side. I've never brought anything to cover the seat or arm rest, but I usually don't rest my arms on the arm rests, either. I've never had a reaction from skin contact at a theater. Close toed shoes are a must if there are peanut or other shells on the floor.

I try and get there before the lights go down, but not too early. This way I can check out who may be eating peanuts and be sure I'm far away from them.

Jenny said...

We always bring our own treats for our peanut and tree nut allergic daughter. We've been OK with the seats, but I always check for Reese's or Snicker's wrappers and avoid those. Now that she's old enough, my daughter helps me scout out "clean" seats.

I've been known to wipe down the arm rests if a seat seems sticky--those little Clorox wipes in the flat packet are perfect for that!

Thanks for bringing this up--movie theaters are definitely a concern for food-allergic people.

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing! So far, the movies have worked out okay. We sneak our own snacks in sometimes, and bought Skittles once as a treat. Fortunately the exorbitant prices discourages plenty of people from purchasing snacks, allergy or no, so no one in our family feels let down without snacks.

Anonymous said...

we bring our own seat cover and also sneak in our own popcorn and bottled water. actually, i don't consider it sneaking, if i were questioned, I am ready to adamantly defend her right to bring her own safe snack anywhere she chooses.

Libby said...

We go to the movies frequently, and it's one of our son's favorite treats, since the movie popcorn is one of the few "normal" foods he can eat.

At our local AMC, the popcorn and "butter" topping are completely, absolutely dairy (and egg and nut) free. (Just try not to think about the chemicals.) We've read the labels, the popcorn equipment is dedicated, and the staff will make a fresh batch upon request.

(Please don't take my word, of course, and ask a manager at your theater to see ingredient labels.)

We've had one contact reaction, when a friend of my son who was with us picked up some chocolate covered nastiness off the floor, and the melted yuck traveled from one kid to the other. (Hives and Benadryl.) Otherwise, the theaters always been one of the friendliest places for us to go.

Anonymous said...

There is a great company called Bug Off Chair Cover, at bugoffchaircover.com. You can purchase a seat cover to help protect from anything left behind on the seats. It does not cover the arms so you might want to wipe those down, but at least the seat is covered.