This year, we’ll have 3 bowls of treats for Halloween. We’ll have the traditional chocolate gooey goodness, a bowl of peanut/tree-nut free treats, and a bowl entirely made up of non-food party favor-ish goodies.
Why? Why not? I was able to pick up a bunch of party favors at the Dollar Tree, and my wife Bethany got some Halloween themed stuff from Target. The no-nuts candy wasn’t a big deal either, all we had to do was read the label… which we’re used to. Even the extra bowl was only $1. It wasn’t a whole lot of effort or money.
Even painting a foam pumpkin teal for use for years to come wasn’t a big deal, or printing the posters from the FARE website. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that. This is a movement. It started with some of the most kick-ass people on the planet, food allergy moms in Tennessee.
My point, I guess, is that it isn’t a lot of effort but it can be a big huge gigantic deal for a kid. What’s a big deal? To feel included on a holiday where you’re hyper aware that you’re different. To know that this piece of candy doesn’t contain nuts or wasn’t “processed in a facility that may also use peanuts or tree nuts.” To know that if you’re allergic to dairy or chocolate or just about everything that everyone else can eat or isn’t one of the top 8, but this little trinket or toy (or 2 or 3 if you’re at our house) is all yours. To know that you don’t have to go home & “trade up” for safe candy on this one. To know that your parents didn’t have to drop off a safe treat with all the neighbors ahead of time, and that someone else “gets” it.
I always liked getting those Little Hugs drinks (which may be a safe treat), but some people would complain about the weight. That would have been gone by the time I got back to the road when I was a kid. Then again, times have changed. When I was a kid, we had to play the “guess who you are” game. If I asked a kid his name now, the next ring of the doorbell would probably be the local police. Also, kids… always let your parents check your candy for razor blades or syringes.
Like I said, we read labels. Luckily shellfish is generally easy form me to avoid in packaged foods, slightly less so in restaurants. Our little girl Molly can’t do eggs. Well, she can do eggs baked into things, but has to avoid straight up eggs, mayonnaise, some mustards, custard, and we just noticed… Mallow Cups? (I hate them, they are the devil’s candy. The wife loves them though… even though it tastes like someone replaced the inside of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup with sunscreen.) Will we have to avoid meringue too? Who knows? Hopefully she outgrow her allergy, I’ll never get over mine without some kind of cure.
There are many others out there going through the same thing. We can stick together, and support each other. We can ask those without any food allergies to support us too. Spreading awareness is the key to keeping us all safe. So, take a few minutes to learn about the #TealPumpkinProject. Use the hashtag on social media (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Tumblr, etc.), get a pumpkin and paint it teal, and/or print out the fliers. Get some safe treats.