Halloween. Halloween is a kid’s favorite night of the year. It is the only night of the year that they can and will get belly aches because of all the candy they were allowed to eat. Aside from Christmas, I can’t think of a better night of the year. It’s filled with excitement, a little fear and a lot of sugar. It’s a time for the parents to relax the rules a bit. It’s time for believing the unbelievable. Ghosts, goblins and witches fill the streets with laughter and screams. The air is crisp and leaves are just starting to fall. You can feel the crunch under your feet.
You have food allergies. Halloween becomes the most dangerous night of the year. Laughter and screams are replaced with vomiting and epi pens. Instead of relaxing the rules, these parents are acting like drill sergeants. They are on edge and praying that no one has to take an ambulance ride this year. You can hear in the far distance, allergy kids saying no thank you and I can’t eat that, or I have to ask my mom and dad. At the kitchen table candy is getting sorted into safe and unsafe piles. Unsafe hits the trash and the safe pile cautiously gets handed to the child. There are prayers that there isn’t any cross contamination and worries that you may have missed something. Halloween is truly a deadly night for lots of kids.
This year we spent our Halloween (which also happens to be mine and my husbands birthday) in the e.r. Despite all our best efforts, Alex managed to get his hands on a peanut chocolate bar. We came prepared for the worst, epi pens and benedryl in hand. We thought we taught him to say no thank you and to ask us first. I suppose all of the excitement of the night impaired his judgment, oh, and he’s four. So that makes him a bit of a jerk. He vomited. He vomited some more. He was thirsty. He went back to playing with his brother and his cousin. My family and I watched him. He seemed ok, maybe he was getting the flu. Maybe he ate too much candy. We had no idea he ate a peanut chocolate bar. He seemed a little sick so we decided our Halloween adventure was over and headed home. We stopped at a gas station and there it was-hives from his ankles to his head. We sped to the nearest hospital and they admitted us right away. His heart rate was high and it looked as if he had a terrible sunburn from his scalp to his feet. The good news, his breathing wasn’t labored and he didn’t have any hives in his throat this time.
Confused, we looked for the answer to how this could have happened. Maybe it was those cheap foil candies. Maybe cross contamination. Maybe this is a new undiagnosed allergy. Alex stopped us. He said, “No, no, no, mommy, I ate a candy bar that looked like poop and it had a pebble in it.” It was gross and then I threw it out. He said, “Maybe that pebble was a peanut. Do you think?” YES! I DO THINK! Why would you eat something without asking us? We have talked and talked about this. But it didn’t change the fact my little boy was laying in a hospital bed with an IV and still vomiting. Eventually, long into the night, Alex was cleared to go home. He was safe again. Safe for another day, another Halloween.