In July, Em was diagnosed with eosinophilic esophagitis and put on a strict diet that excludes soy, eggs, dairy, gluten, fish, and nuts. In September, it was determined that she has life-threatening allergies to eggs, peanuts, and tree nuts. In the days leading up to Halloween, people asked me how I was planning on dealing with it – was I nervous? did I think Em would be disappointed she couldn’t eat her treats?
The short answer is “no” to both questions.
I am all about managing expectations. A week before Halloween, I bought Em a box of Skittles/Starburst and told her that it would be her Halloween candy because it is safe for her. Throughout the week, I reminded her we’d be swapping her trick-or-treats with the candy I had bought for her.
When Halloween arrived, the kids got dressed up, and we hit the streets (in the pouring rain). The first house we went to gave Em a chocolate bar. She burst into tears. “Mommy, she gave me a chocolate bar! I can’t eat that!” I reminded her that she had lots of candy waiting for her at home and that we’re just trick-or-treating because it is fun! The next house was a bag of chips. She looked disappointed, but quietly said “thank you.” As the night progressed, she seemed to stop noticing what people were giving her, focusing on pumpkins, and decorations, and yelling “trick or treat!” When their bags were heavy with loot and hands bitten by the cold, we headed home.
After shedding her shoes and rain-drenched costume, Em ran into the living room and dumped her bag of loot on the floor while I fetched the Skittles/Starburst (and some additional last minute treats I had gotten). She looked at the pile and said “I can’t eat any of this.” Aside from a couple of packages of Skittles and Swedish Berries, she was right. She gave her haul to her brother and we dumped all her safe candy into her bag. She eagerly selected some things to eat and that was that.
Though we are mostly an allergen-free household, we did keep the candy she can’t eat. I took out anything with peanuts (for me), and Q got the rest.
All in all, it went smoothly and I am pleased with her reaction to a less-than-ideal Halloween experience.