Did you all see the teal pumpkins this year? I saw quite a few on my Facebook feed, but none in my neighborhood. Maybe the word got out too late, after all, I only heard about it on the news the day before Halloween.
For those that missed it, there has been a move toward handing out treats that children with allergies and other food issues can enjoy, such as stickers, pencils, and small toys. Homes that have such treats display a teal pumpkin. I think this is a lovely idea, and provides a nice way for children who have various food issues to participate fully.
That being said, I still take issue with the anonymous mom who plastered her neighborhood with flyers pressuring her neighbors to give out only peanut-free treats, and provided a list of alternatives, including carrots and raisins. No kid wants carrots or raisins for Halloween, allergies or not. Kids want candy, and Halloween is the one night a year when they have the ability to go around scavenging for it. Presumably they put at least some effort into a costume, and they put in the effort to go door to door. Their reward is the candy, or other treat.
Yes, I know that some kids have allergies, sometimes even severe enough to be life-threatening. Those kids can’t eat certain candies, that’s a given. So parents, here’s where you come in. Do what works for your child, within the context of the holiday. Does it mean that your child has to stay home? No! It may mean that you have to be extremely careful about sorting candy, or that you don’t accept any candies that you know are a problem for your child. Maybe it means that you trade out the part of the stash that’s no good for your child. You can make this work, without trying to shame everyone else into passing out carrots and raisins.
Last night we had that exact scenario. A boy of about ten came clomping up the driveway, very awkwardly, in his scuba fins. His costume was entirely homemade, and certainly took a great deal of time and effort. His sister and mother were right there with him, and he requested any candy that we might have with no nuts. We had something for him, and he was delighted. He was friendly, confident, and very carefully watched by his equally friendly mother. I’m sure that if we had no candy for him, there wouldn’t have been pouting or tears. This child knows he has an allergy, and he has to live with it. His mother is teaching him how.
I think that working with our kids to understand that sometimes things don’t work out exactly in their favor is doing them more of a service than trying to bully everyone around you into treating your child differently. I’m afraid that type of behavior can easily breed a victim mentality. Yes, people have different needs, but in the case of Halloween, those needs can be easily accommodated within the family.
The teal pumpkins are fine. They’re thoughtful and those families that provide something different should be thanked. I might even do it next year, but this year we gave out plain old candy, and lots of it. Halloween is about the fun, not about making a political statement. Yes, let your kids trick-or-treat, and then address the loot situation at home. I think flexible parents raise flexible kids who can learn to accept that fact that eating certain foods is a bad idea for them. In spite of it all, Halloween can still be a fun night for kids, even those with allergies.