a full day of school (with perhaps a party thrown in there),
trying to put something that feels like a healthy dinner into your children,
cleaning up the costume that they may have worn to school all day,
having the inevitable argument of how to winterize your child (at least in Massachusetts!),
hoping your spouse arrives home early/on time (who gets home at 5:00?) so you don’t have to put your bowl of candy on your top step with a “Take One Please” sign.
Whew – makes me stressed out just thinking of it all!!
Now lets throw some food allergies into the mix. Unfortunately these stresses don’t go away with a Saturday Halloween. Holidays come with extra anxiety for the Food Allergy Families.
We have always had a Zero Tolerance home. Nothing with nuts comes in. No food, no shampoo, no cleaners, no nothing.
With the exception of Halloween.
My children went Trick-or-Treating exclusively in our neighborhood. Any neighbors who knew my girls would have special candy just for them. Some neighbors would go above-and-beyond and have a Halloween gift pack with safe candy and other little non-food treats. I will never forget the thoughtfulness and kindness of these people. They were the Teal Pumkiners before Teal Pumpkins existed.
But, every doorbell must be rung. And I did let my children gather packaged treats at every door, just like every other kid in the gang.
Back home, the first thing that was done with the loot bags was to dump them out on the kitchen table and begin the sorting. No one touched the candy but me. Safe and Not Safe piles were constructed. The Safe Pile was always a fraction of the Not Safe pile, and had practically no chocolate. All "Not Safe" Candies were immediately stowed in my husband’s car so the folks at his office could enjoy Snickers with their coffee the next day.
Some years I “bought” this candy with other safe candy or even money.
The nut-safe booty would stay around the house until I gave or threw it away. My kids never really paid it much attention – it seemed the excitement of Trick-or-Treating was what it was all about for them – they pretty much forgot about the candy on November 1.
I, on the other hand, would work at that pile of candy until I found the strength to get it out of the house!
Was I right about letting them collect packaged candy that was not safe for them? I am not sure. We lived our lives 364 days with unshakeable rules surrounding allergies. Could a terrible accident have happened? Yes, definitely – what if some on-street snacking happened?
Our Trick-or-Treating days are over, and now I don’t have to worry about candy. But what about Frangelico? What if a nut liquor is an unknown ingredient in an after dinner drink? Now a Saturday October 31st adds a little more stress rather than alleviating it! (BTW Shout out to @NutFreeNinja for a great article on Liquor and Nut Allergies.)
I wish everyone a very safe and happy Halloween. I hope you all are able to enjoy the fun of the holiday without too much stress. Thanks for reading!
Chris, aka Rebecca, Mary Beth, and Caroline’s Mom