I have been scammed. By who? Why none other than the societal construct of “Halloween” itself! When you think of Peanuts and Halloween, you probably think of the animated classic “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.” But no. Not me. I think of all of America’s favorite candies, and how I cannot eat them due to their containing POISON (peanuts, the food, not Charlie). This led to a childhood of trick-or-treating experiences that were much more trick and a lot less treat.
To put it into relatable terms, imagine if someone plopped the most mouth-watering delicacy right in front of your face, but then said “if you eat this, or even just touch it, you’ll have to pay the ultimate price.” I mean talk about a real Adam and Eve situation! Except instead of having to put clothes on and passing the burden of Original Sin to my children, I get anaphylaxis. Think of the staples in your Halloween haul each year…then take them out. Yeah, all that’s left is Skittles, Tootsie Pops, and Smarties. I’M SICK OF SKITTLES, DAMNIT! As I got older, the swathes of children that wanted to go trick-or-treating with me grew larger and larger each year. At the time I thought, “damn, I’m really getting popular amongst my fellow fifth graders!” But what a silly paradox this was because in reality, I spent nearly every day alone at the Nut Free Table and was certainly no Sharpay Evans. No, I was more like Greg Heffley with the cheese touch, except everyone else had peanut fingers. It doesn’t take a big effort to see that I had so many friends on Hallow’s Eve because they knew I couldn’t eat many of the coveted confections. They knew that every peanut-ridden thing that landed in my plastic jack-o-lantern, would quickly be passed into theirs, no tradesies required. Their hauls weighed them down considerably, but mine was feather-like in comparison. I was utterly taken advantage of, hustled, swindled!
Do you want to hear about the biggest boondoggle of them all? Well there’s a food allergy organization out there that does this nationwide fundraising effort around Halloween. They send all the allergy kids little cardboard boxes to carry around and instead of saying “trick or treat!” you are instructed to ask for any spare change the household has laying around. This sounds like a great idea right? Free money just for being immunocompromised! But no, once this little box is stuffed with pennies, you have to send it right back to the organization. That’s right, you heard me. Instead of filling a sack with cavity-inducing goodness, they want you, the children, to do their door-to-door financial soliciting for them! All you get once you give them your hard earned money is a lousy thank you note. All trick! No treat! And I did it…more than once! But don’t blame me for falling into their trap, blame corporate America! The scariest ghoul of them all!
I’ll end with a real scary story to get that epinephrine coursing through your veins. One year, I was going about my business as an eleven-year-old ER doctor, prancing through the neighborhood as if I were on-call. All of a sudden, the scraggly fingers of the wickedest witch reached around the doorframe and dropped a handful of LOOSE peanuts right into my receptacle! I looked back at my mom in complete dismay, bewildered. All the meticulous curation I had done was now contaminated, a personal biohazard. All of my foragings had to be tossed out to the wolves! Satanic, I declare! Stay safe out there, kids.