Food Allergies and Halloween

HalloweencatpumpkinIt’s Halloween and all around you children and adults alike are worrying about what they’ll be and what they’ll do on Halloween.

For many Halloween is the favorite holiday of the year. The chance to create an alter ego and project a persona different than what you normally have, is something we all like to do at times. Frozen remains a firm favorite for Halloween, along with Marvel Superheroes such as Batman and Iron man. Fairy tale characters such as Cinderella and the Little Mermaid remain popular.

For children with food allergies or medical conditions trick or treating can be a minefield. It’s hard enough for adults to realize they need to curb their diet due to medical reasons. It’s even more difficult for children. Yet the candy handed out on Halloween can send a normal child into sugar shock, never mind a diabetic.

How as a parent, family member or friend do you negotiate your way through this minefield while allowing your children to enjoy Halloween? Having faced this situation with my own son when he was younger I know it’s not easy. I also know even children with no underlying health issues are being gently lured into giving up their Halloween candy.

Many parents are ‘buying back’ the Halloween candy in exchange for a toy at the toy store of their choice. Your child has still been able to participate freely but he’s able to trade his candy for a toy of his choice. If this is your child or a family friend you can also make sure there’s a special Halloween treat which may or may not have candy in it for him.

Not being able to participate in Halloween or a special event the same way other children can is hard. But focusing more on what your child can have or do, rather than what they can’t is key. That worked best when my son had gluten allergies and will hopefully make for a fun filled Halloween for you and your children.


Day Trips And The Importance Of Story


This summer I took a day trip to Vancouver. It was a chance to get off the Rock and, since Vancouver bills itself as Hollywood North, perhaps a chance to see behind the scenes on productions such as Supernatural and Once Upon A Time

Not a lot of planning went into this. We decided to go the day before and I said something along the lines of, maybe we can see something behind the scenes. Hollywood North is missing its own Universal Studios or Disneyland. So I called a few production companies but there was anything but joy at the thought of us watching them film..

In fact the way some  responded I had visions of mothers with small children throwing tantrums in the middle of a crucial scene, drunken adults screaming something along the lines of ‘You Go Girl,’ at the crucial moment and other filming disasters.

NOOO problem. Really, I just wanted to spend a day with my son. So off we went. Having made our way to downtown Vancouver we strolled along the sea wall until we came to a IMG_2271

perfect place to stop for a few minutes and have a drink. The patio of The Whistler Brewing Company could not have been more perfect as the picture above shows.

While there my son hash tagged #Vancouver Film Shoots on Twitter.  Within minutes he’d come up with information that Super Natural might be filming at Victory Square which was only a few blocks away (slightly over 1000 but who’s counting?).


Off we went. By the time we hit the Vancouver Film School I was more than ready for a break. So I said, “why don’t we go in here?”

I admired some of the news stories on the wall and a staff member directed me down the street to another building where she said we might be able to have a tour. Once there we met Patsy, who was happy to give us a tour of their 3D animation and filming school. Off we went to another building.

We saw students hunkered intently over computers, a room holding a giant green screen and another left over from Storyville which allowed them to shoot everything from western and mine shots to a pirate ship. And most impressively – walls filled with just about every big name movie out currently or in the recent past.

All had members of the school or alumni that had worked on them.  She told us the story of one animator who had come to them with dreams of working on Disney films. He got his chance on Frozen.image3image4

Thanking her for showing us the school we continued on to Victory square. This may yet turn up in Supernatural but today we were on a mission and my son had received notification of a Once Upon A Time shoot being set up in Burnaby park. Off we went and before long we joined a half dozen other people watching a film crew get ready for a shoot.


If we were good and behaved ourselves cast would often come over and talk to us, maybe let us take a picture with them we were told.  It was a pleasant way to spend a couple of hours. Most of the people were young with several from other countries including Holland and the UK. One clutched a copy of Once Upon A Time and it was clear all were familiar with the show.

Unfortunately we couldn’t stay until 2:30 that morning which is when it seemed the filming would most likely take place with 4:30 and the first light of day being the shot most coveted. As a crew member said, Mother Nature had her own timetable and was the determining factor.

Story, it seems to me is as important as it ever was, if not more so. People of all ages will spend large amounts of time learning about stories that interest them. Many are finding a way to make themselves part of these stories through Cosplay and fan fiction.

As writers our job is to make stories so compelling, readers want to immerse themselves in them and the worlds we have created. That may not be easy but when we do it well the results are worth the effort.


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