URBANDALE, Iowa — Beggar’s Night is just two weeks away. Before you buy all that candy for little ghosts and goblins, you may want to think about another option to make the holiday a little less scary for certain trick-or-treaters.
Halloween is a big deal in the Bemis home, but the sugar-filled holiday turned scary for one of the twins last year. Mom Erin Bemis says, “The boys go to every house and say, ‘trick-or-treat, I can’t have peanuts.’ And then when they came back, we were dumping out all of the candy on the kitchen table and sorting through it, and Ben just saw a fun size Snickers and snuck one bite.”
Knowing Ben and Will are allergic to peanuts, a close friend told the parents. They gave Ben a dose of Benadryl and decided to take him to the ER. Erin says, “It’s good that we did. He ended up having a really bad reaction an hour after he ate it.”
Ben broke out in hives and even had trouble breathing. He spent the night in the hospital, and his parents know it could have been much worse. Dad Bill Bemis says, “Apparently every time you do get exposure, it gets worse, so each reaction gets, last year was the real scary one.”
This year, The Food Allergy Research and Education group started a national campaign to raise awareness called the Teal Pumpkin Project. The group wants homeowners to put a pumpkin painted teal, the color of food allergy awareness, on their porch. It will let trick-or-treaters know a non-candy option is available for kids with a life threatening food allergy.
Erin says, “We definitely want people to know it’s something scary, and even though we try to take as many precautions as possible, the boys know they can’t have peanuts.”
The group FARE says 15 million Americans have a food allergy. It suggests glow sticks, pencils, stickers and plastic vampire fangs as candy-free alternatives. The Bemis family plans to hand out light rings. And, they say they’ll be even more careful collecting the candy this year.