This Halloween

Last year for Halloween she was a monkey.

The cutest monkey you’d ever seen.

Admit it.

She ran from house to house, unsure of why she was allowed to go into strangers’ homes but loving every second of it.

We watched from the steps as she dug her hands into bowls full of candy, eyes wide, smile huge.

“Get some for your Mommy!”

Then, as she skipped back to dump her lot into the pumpkin bucket, our reality as parents of a child with allergies blew the candle out of our festive glow.

————————————–

As children my brother and I would fill our double lined grocery bags with candy and run back to the house as fast as we could after trick-or-treating. The table would be cleared and we’d dump out our goods, making sure our haul didn’t touch.

We had a strict rule in our house on Halloween.

“NO EATING CANDY WHILE TRICK-OR-TREATING!”

Oh and,

“DAD GETS ALL OF THE O’HENRY’S”

We were reminded every year that not all of the candy was safe, some strangers did not have our best interests in mind, and that checking it at home ensured we didn’t eat anything dangerous.

Once I had my own child I was prepared to put the same practice into place; to start early with discussions about sorting at home, talking about strangers with poor intentions, and not eating while trick-or-treating.

But when your child has allergies this practice changes.

Sorting candy becomes that much more crucial. A trip to someone’s door isn’t just “Trick-or-Treat,” it’s “are these peanut free?” “No, she can’t have those, thank you.” “Sorry honey, let’s try another house.”

It’s dirty looks and explanations, confused stares and shaking heads, sad eyes and pats on the head.

Halloween becomes less about being a child and dressing up and more about stigmas, educating the community, and reminding your children that they have just as much right to enjoy themselves as every other child – and to be safe doing it.

———————————–

My hands shook as I dumped the bag of peanuts from her hands.

“NO NUTS!”

It had been 20 days since we’d found out that our daughter had a peanut allergy, and we were swimming in a sea of information, questions, and worry.

Hallowe’en was going to be just one of the holidays that would overwhelm and scare us.

 

This Halloween please consider peanut free treats or be cognisant of those coming to your house with an allergy. It could be the difference between life and death to a Trick-or-Treater.

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21 Responses to This Halloween
  1. Jenn@Fox in the City
    October 11, 2012 | 9:19 am

    It is hard. You could always accept whatever candy is given out, sort it when you get home (just like you did as a kid) and then give out the stuff that is not safe for you adorable monkey! That way she get the fun of accepting the candy and you save money (and your sanity) by handing out the stuff that is not safe for her! Just a thought and a comment with a whole bunch of unsolicited advice that you are more that welcome to completely ignore! 🙂

    • Eli McFadden
      October 11, 2012 | 8:51 pm

      A good idea, but what happens if you pass it along to a toddler who has not yet been diagnosed with a peanut/treenut allergy?

      • multitaskingmumma
        October 14, 2012 | 8:00 pm

        Thats the scary part. Most parents will find out within the first two to four years if their child has a peanut allergy. I recommend giving peanut butter for the first time in the safety of your own home

  2. Ali (@suitcasetricks)
    October 11, 2012 | 10:13 am

    I agree with Jenn. I’d just accept it and sort it at home. I admit, I’d probably be a little confused if a parent asked what my candy was and ended up not taking it unless she explained that it was because she didn’t want me to waste my candy. And then she’d have to be REALLY charming about it (which I know you are).

  3. Kimberly
    October 11, 2012 | 10:21 am

    That shit freaks me out. My son’s school is a peanut and tree nut free school If Chase has a peanut butter toast in the morning, he gets a bath. Yup. And I won’t make his lunch on the counter I used to make the toast.
    Crazy. No. When you’re talking about life, you can’t be careful enough. I just wish that everyone had this point of veiw instead of being so selfish and inconsiderate. If it was their child they would do the same.
    So there dicks.

    • multitaskingmumma
      October 14, 2012 | 9:11 pm

      That’s exactly how I feel.
      If it was their child things would be different.

  4. Sarcasm Goddess
    October 11, 2012 | 11:08 am

    When I was little my mom would let me trick or treat. When we got home, she’d throw away all the candy then take me to the store to pick out whatever I wanted. Then one Halloween a teenager handed me LSD or PCP – what’s the drug that looks like a sticker that you stick to your body and absorb it through your skin? That one. We stopped trick or treating after that.

    • multitaskingmumma
      October 14, 2012 | 8:08 pm

      I cant tell if you’re being serious.
      That story scares the shit out of me

      • Sarcasm Goddess
        October 15, 2012 | 5:40 pm

        Unfortunately, I’m completely serious. While I don’t remember that incident, I do remember being terrified while trick or treating. I think the teenagers were all on drugs in my neighborhood and they were positively terrifying to a four year old. I didn’t object at all when my mom told me no more soliciting strangers for candy.

  5. Laverne
    October 11, 2012 | 1:17 pm

    WOWWW! Something I honestly never thought of. My oldest has students with peanut allergies is her classroom and I am super aware of how I pack her lunch and what she has for snack. When I send her to school with her birthday treats in a week I will be equally aware and conscientious. It even made me think really hard about the treats I will have at her birthday party. Halloween I never thought of. Thank you for the reminder. It is good for all of us to be conscious and thoughtful of others and their allergies!

    • multitaskingmumma
      October 14, 2012 | 8:06 pm

      I love how you embrace other opinions and ideas; other live styles and situations.
      you are one in a million

  6. Cathy Adams
    October 11, 2012 | 6:50 pm

    Just a suggestion of things to hand out to the trick or treaters…for the little ones, stickers or sticker books or crayons from the dollar store and for the bigger kids, a can of pop, or ice tea 5 alive etc.

    • multitaskingmumma
      October 14, 2012 | 8:04 pm

      love these ideas!!!

  7. Leigh Ann
    October 11, 2012 | 7:54 pm

    Very important reminder, friend. Very. I love Cathy’s idea. I know my girls are just as thrilled with stickers as they are candy (well they were just year). This is the world we live in, and we have to adapt to keep each other safe.

    • multitaskingmumma
      October 14, 2012 | 8:04 pm

      exactly. I dont give my daughter all that candy anyway

  8. Lady Estrogen
    October 11, 2012 | 8:00 pm

    You betcha, sista.
    We stick to the ones that have the no nuts logo on them – and sometimes I just get chips 😉

    • multitaskingmumma
      October 14, 2012 | 8:00 pm

      I love you. You always get it

  9. Robin | Farewell, Stranger
    October 12, 2012 | 10:13 am

    Oh yeah. Hadn’t really thought about Halloween candy – that must be frustrating. Good reminder!

    • multitaskingmumma
      October 14, 2012 | 7:58 pm

      Thank you Robin, I love when ppl are receptive

  10. Kande
    October 20, 2012 | 6:08 pm

    I do both. Treats with PB (or nuts, or may contain, or can’t promise they won’t contain etc.). But I also make a point of having absolutely totally nut free options.That is fair I think. Also fair? If I hide the PB ones for later. Or if I open the bag to eat just one … and then for some reason none are left by Halloween. What can I say? I love chocolate and PB goodness! But I certainly appreciate that some people don’t and some are allergic, and if I can buy one ( or 2 … or 3 … let’s stop counting now, K?) of candy for my own desire I can certainly buy enough to ensure I have peanut free options.

    Also? A few friends of mine who have allergy-worries let their kids trick-or-treat for the fun of it, then donate the whole kit and caboodle to soldiers overseas and then buy their kids a toy instead …

    • multitaskingmumma
      October 21, 2012 | 1:45 pm

      Oh that’s a really good idea.. I never thought about donating.

      We’ve already bought two boxes of candy and their gone!

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