A guest post by Emily Levenson
When Kim reached out and asked if I wanted to write a Halloween-themed post, I excitedly said yes. I’m a big fan of Halloween — any holiday that encourages dressing up as a unicorn is a-okay in my book. Of course, I’m also a big fan of the candy.
As kids, my brother and I would try to one-up each other and get the most candy. When we got home, we’d empty our pillow cases on the floor and sort through our haul, taunting each other with the extra special treats we’d found.
If someone found a house giving away full-sized candy bars, we’d etch their address into the archives of our brains and make sure to hit up that house first next time around.
One year, my brother even got to go trick-or-treating at Aretha Franklin’s house. (True story.) Needless to say, he totally won Halloween that year. And, I’m pretty sure she gave away full sized candy bars. (BECAUSE OF COURSE SHE DID.)
As I’ve gotten older and the urge to dress up in (slutty) Halloween costumes has passed, I still have a fondness for the holiday. I love watching my toddler get excited about dressing up and seeing her eyes light up as she takes in the various costumes and treats.
But I also feel a bit of sadness, as the realization sinks in that I can no longer eat 99% of the treats out there. Having to eliminate dairy, gluten, nightshades, and eggs can strip you of joy (and options) when it comes to candy. And while I don’t feel great while eating any of those foods, my sensitivities aren’t life-threatening.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of children (and adults) out there who aren’t so lucky. Children with severe allergies to things like peanuts, nuts, and soy, as well as children who have been diagnosed with Celiac Disease and need to stay away from gluten and wheat. Children who desperately want to take part in Halloween and be like everyone else just this once.
Which is why I will be participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project this year. For those that don’t know, the Teal Pumpkin Project helps make sure all children will come home on Halloween night with something they can enjoy. It takes one simple act: offering non-food treats, such as glow sticks or small toys, as an alternative to candy.
I’m pretty sure 8 year old Emily would have been thrilled to get a glow-stick or other fun toy mixed in with all of that candy. I can only imagine how a child with a life-threatening allergy would feel to be included in the mix.
Here’s to a wildly fun and SAFE Halloween.
Emily Levenson is a therapist turned bookbinder turned blogger, toddler mama, meditation encourager, Pittsburgh enthusiast, and Propelle Co-Pilot. She spends a lot of time in the kitchen cooking up allergy-friendly treats, dancing with her two year old, and rocking out to Janis Joplin. You can find Emily (and her extensive recipe archives) online at emilylevenson.com. On Instagram? Emily is there too.
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