So, I’ve been seeing a lot of stuff online about allergens and trick or treating. And quite honestly, it’s all pissing me off.
First, we have a parent who apparently posted bright orange flyers all over calling people assholes (not verbatim—it was implied) for giving out treats that contain gluten, nuts, and dairy because his kid has a nut allergy. Then we had a shock jock respond to this…well, like a shock jock would. No real shock there. And then today I read a very angry blog by a woman about how she can’t be expected to treat all these kids special and as a parent it is YOUR (her caps, not mine) responsibility to raise your kids because you are raising ADULTS (see previous parens).
Okay, call me crazy but I’m just going to toss this out there. Given Halloween is a holiday that is very much for children—
*You put up flyers—if you must—asking people to consider having allergen friendly candy or non-food items for kids with allergies. That it would be appreciated to help Halloween be truly all-inclusive.
*If you see these flyers instead of flapping your obnoxious yap on the radio, or in the other case, writing a very angry, ranty blog about all these special kids and how parents are raising adults…you just…NOT PARTICIPATE.
Seems pretty straightforward.
As an allergy sufferer myself, I have chosen, of my own accord, to have allergy friendly treats and non-food item treats at my door. And no, I don’t have a teal pumpkin on my porch (this was a major issue with this blogger—all the colored pumpkins and what they signify. She took great offense.)
Why am I doing it? Because I know how thrilled I am to walk into a restaurant and see Ask us about our gluten free menu. I have to do the I-have-gluten-peanut-issues cha-cha every time I sit down in a restaurant or go to a party. And by God, it is a pain in the ass. Especially with the uneducated wait staff/restaurants. So to walk in and see that makes me feel normal NOT special. There is a difference between the two. Seeing that sign in a restaurant makes me feel at ease. It makes me relax and enjoy my meal and feel more a part of the meal with my family. It makes me the girl who doesn’t have to go through her ‘spiel’ and decipher what she can eat.
So if having alternative treats for kids on Halloween who might have similar issues makes them feel more normal and more included, hell, I’m all for it.
As far as the whole “You are raising adults” thing, let me say this:
As an adult, if you have allergies and you walk into a party or a restaurant or a lunch meeting at work, you are expected to say, “I have issues with fill in the blank, do you know what’s in this? Can I see the list of ingredients?” (or similar) Speaking up and asking questions to protect yourself is being an adult. So by educating our kids on how to speak up and keep themselves safe, we are very much raising adults, thank you very much.
So instead of all the poo slinging back and forth about parents insisting on raising special kids or how it’s not your job to protect children—how about we remember that it’s children we’re talking about. Who all want to be included and all want to feel “normal” (whatever the hell that is) on Halloween. How about everyone take a breath and remember that this is supposed to be a fun holiday, and being kind to kids who already have shit to deal with is a good thing. As simple as maybe making one or two choices as far as candy/treats so there’s something for everyone.
No, it’s not your job but it would make you a damn fine human being. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Oh, and one more point while I’m here. This one bloggers big argument was that her kid was diabetic and she took her trick or treating and there were no colored pumpkins to indicate who had sugar free candy, blah, blah, blah. Well, I’d like to thank her for making this point. Because next year in addition to ‘normal candy’, candy I know to be gluten and nut free (it’s normal fucking candy, it just doesn’t have those ingredients!), snack bars that are free of 8 major allergens, and Halloween bookmarks—I’ll make sure to have some sugar free candy on hand.
If my little sign that reads WE HAVE ALLERGY FRIENDLY TREATS. PLEASE TELL US IF YOU HAVE AN ALLERGY makes me some modern day, special-kid-raising, bleeding heart…So be it. Because if a kid does knock on my door who tells me they have an allergy and I can give them a treat that makes them feel “normal” and included, I’m going to feel pretty damn good. Even without a teal colored pumpkin.
Dr. Johnny Fever