Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween - Not So Scary After All!

Halloween was one of those holidays that I was worried about, concerned that it would be potential dangerous for DJ, and that he wouldn’t be able to participate as fully as other kids. I’m happy to report that I couldn’t have been more wrong. After debating different strategies, my husband and I decided that we would let DJ Trick-or-Treat and would simply go through his candy stash and eliminate any potentially dangerous treats. Since he’s not quite old enough to understand why some of his candy would be taken away, we would do it while keeping him distracted. Sounds simple enough since that’s something we would be doing even if he didn’t have PA. Still, we were both a bit leery. Of course, we carried both his epi-pens and didn’t let him eat candy until we got home.

We’ve been in our neighborhood for about ten years now, and are well acquainted with our neighbors. We’ve been diligent about telling them about DJ’s allergy, asking them to never offer him food without our consent so we could clear it for safety. I couldn’t have been more grateful that more than 95% of those that knew about his allergy made a specific point of purchasing peanut free candy so that he could safely partake; nearly everyone showed me what went into his bag before dropping it in, and told me about its contents. One neighbor was even kind enough to buy him a Halloween book in the event we were too nervous to let him have any candy at all. Of course, we thoroughly checked everything out at home.

Out of 60 pieces collected, 47 were safe. Of the 13 remaining pieces, five were no-brand name sugary candies with no labels, and three were chocolate bars with the ‘may contain’ warning. Only three contained actual nuts. The other five were brand-name candies with no ingredients label. And for that I say shame on you Skittles and Starburst; if you’re selling candies in Halloween size format get on board with your peers and start labeling your candy properly!

Anyways, it was really a relief to see that DJ’s Halloween fun was not hampered in any way and neither was his safety. While he may resent having to hand over 20% of his candy when the night becomes more about a candy grab, we’ll develop some sort of trade-off strategy to deal with that when the time comes.

In the meantime, a shout out to our neighbors who helped make the evening a great one by keeping his allergy in mind when buying their candy.


  1. Hi ,
    I wanted to introduce myself , I too am a mom of a peanut allergic child , I know eating out can be a terrifying experience , we have a small group of resturants that we trust , it is always good to take things carefuly, if I can ever help you or you would like to vent feel free, us moms have to stick together , just came back from retesting after 4 years , still allergic here , its fine , we know how to handle it here ...

  2. Hi
    I found a link to your blog on your coment to the Chatalaine's horrible article. I love your blog. We live with peanut allergies too. I have 3 boys (all allergic to peanuts) my youngest is airborne allergic to peanuts. He is almost 6 and in grade 1. We live just north east of Toronto. My husband started a blog as well if you are interested it is
    Thanks for your site. It's nice to know we are not alone in this battle for our kids life! :)

  3. Hi!
    I also saw the link to your blog in your Chatelaine comment. My 7 year old daughter first reacted to peanut (hives from skin contact) at 2 and was diagnosed as a 4+ at 3. Thankfully she has never had an anaphylactic reaction. I just thought I'd mention in response to your Halloween post that we started off with the same plan as you - trading a toy for the candy - however the last two years she didn't even care. She's become so adjusted to knowing that there are simply things she can't eat that she has no issues with them being taken away. We do let her go door-to-door for a while longer than we may otherwise to collect enough that she doesn't feel 'destitute' when we've removed the offending items.
    Also, her school experience has been AWESOME with regards to her allergy. The kids are very understanding (though sometimes being kids they joke a little too much) and the staff are always excellent too, meeting with me ahead of time and checking with me on every snack related activity. She has never had a reaction in school. It was a big scary world when we started out, but thankfully people like the Chatelaine author have been few and far between in my experience and we've managed to find our 'normal'!

  4. my 4 year old ernt trick or treating with my husband and an old lady dumped actual peanuts all over her candy. thankfully we had friends ( at the next house) who quietly replaced her candy and the bag with their own. when my husband came back home to tell me what happened i went down to the basement and cried. we've known for 2.5 years and some days I ALMOST think it's normal and then there are days when i feel that hiding in my peanut free house is the best option. - laura

  5. We let our 2 1/2 yr old go to our church's halloween party! We made an allergy tag that we pinned on the back of his costume to alert others as well as kept a close eye on his candy. The church has several PA kids and actually made special bags for the PA kids. We were also able to pick out safe candy at each game station. There were also non-candy prizes which DS actually loved better! DS had a great night and seemed like every other kid there! Like you, I was relieved that his allergy didn't hamper his fun! Not sure what we'll do next year when he is 3 1/2 and he understands more but one step at a time...