This Halloween was our first Trick or Treating experience!
Before we headed out, I explained to my 3-year-old who is allergic to most candies handed out on Halloween, “You’ll collect a lot of candy and you won’t be able to eat any of it because of cross contamination. BUT when we get home we’ll trade it for the safe candy.”
He responded, “Then why are we even going Trick or Treating?”
Oh. He’s smart. I quickly came up with a response, “To hang out with friends and dress up.”
We started the trick or treating at a couple different events with J.C. going from person to person, skipping those with only peanut treats. All the while he sang “La, la, la, do, do, do.”
When the night came, we started with a friend I knew would have safe treats.
Next we checked out FARE’s Teal Pumpkin Project map. Only four bubbles popped up in our city (another five in outlier cities).
The first location had a description telling us twins with nut allergies lived there.
I typed in the address, blindly following Siri’s directions.
After a few turns, I realized we were driving back to our neighborhood.
We turned in, to a street we don’t normally pass. A huge Teal Pumpkin Project poster on one side of the house and a teal pumpkin.
As I parked, my heart swelled. Tears formed in my eyes.
We are not alone.
My son is not alone.
In our own neighborhood these two twin boys have food allergies!
I walked up with our own non-food goodies to share. My son then picked out a non-food toy for himself. I talked to the mom of the house about food allergies and awareness.
I left feeling empowered. It was awesome! I might as well have been one of these superheroes. A superhero ready to fight food allergies.
I asked J.C., “Do you want to go to another teal pumpkin house? Or do you want to get candy down the street?”
Hardly holding back excitement, “TEAL PUMPKIN!”
So it went on.
Teal pumpkin after teal pumpkin.
At one house, the high schooler of the home had heard about the project and wanted to make everyone feel included.
There, a dear friend of mine and the mother of a child with Spina Bifida – told me “The playing field is leveled when it comes to our children.” More tears (by the way, our food allergy journey cannot even come close to their journey, but her sentiment touches me so deeply).
By the time we got home J.C. was KNOCKED OUT! He’s not a sleeper so of course this worried me because excessive sleepiness was one of his symptoms during his major peanut reaction.
As we dressed him for bed, through his drowsy state he got a few words out to his dad, “a Star Wars puzzle,” “comic book” (which is really an Elmo book), and “little rhino” – all items he got while Trick or Treating.
When he was sleeping, I traded out his candy and laid out his toys.
I started to cry.
What a beautiful thing. So many people willing to buy non-food items so my son could “la, la, la, do, do, do” happily, trick or treating through the night!
So with that – thank you.
Thank you to everyone who went out of their way to include my son and the other 1 in 13 with food allergies.
It changed the night for us.
It turned it into a night that wasn’t scary. A night that didn’t come with tears. A night where he wasn’t left out. A night without anxiety.
He had a blast, just like I did as a kid. He was just as excited about the Halloween-themed pencil as the non-food allergic kids were about the full-sized candy bars!
I don’t have the words to fully express my gratitude.
So thank you.
Thank you for including my child.
Happy (la la la do do do) Halloween.