I had a Halloween party on Saturday and it was a lot of fun. :)
I invited the majority of the guests by Facebook invite. In the party writeup, I listed the menu, specified that there would be vegan items for any vegans, and encouraged guests to let me know if they had any food sensitivities that would need special arrangements. No one said anything.
But then one of my guests, Jodi, asked which of my desserts had nuts. She is not exactly allergic to nuts, she said, but throws up when she eats them. I responded by pulling out a folder, checking a chart I'd made, and indicating that only the mixed nut tin would give her trouble. (Some items also had almond milk, but she said she wouldn't react to that.)
She and her husband were really surprised I actually had a chart (yes, like, a physical one) and Jodi said I was really thoughtful to come up with that. And I mean, I know I've never gone to any other parties where they had a list of what's vegan posted on the wall. But at the same time, that's the way I want the world to be. I want people to be able to have access to information that will help them live safely.
My nephew is highly allergic to nuts, both the tree variety and peanuts. My sister has to be very careful about what treats he gets, and one of the things she's encouraging participation in is the Teal Pumpkin Project. It's where kids with allergies can go to houses that have put out a teal pumpkin (or signed up on the website map) and be assured that they can get a treat like a toy or non-food item so they can enjoy the fun of going door-to-door for things they can have fun with.
I think this is a really cool idea, and I thought of my friend Ellen from grade school who couldn't trick-or-treat because she was diabetic. This is a great option for them too. Why didn't they have anything like this before? (Maybe they did and I didn't know.)
Now here's the thing.
Online, there's a weird backlash against people who want allergies to be carefully considered in restaurants. You can find it easily if you look--people who think it's "oversensitivity" causing people to want these accommodations, especially if it's for sugar-free or gluten-free items. You hear disgusting stories of baristas giving dairy to people who want non-dairy, sugar to people who want sugar-free, or allergens to people who asked for confirmation of allergen-free foods. They think they're getting back at people for daring to ask for these accommodations--as if it's some kind of justice that they should be given something other than what they want. Who cares about the reason? They're picky, and need to be punished for that.
Even if it was just them being picky, why the hell can't you respect them?
And since you will never know if someone's lying to you about having an allergy, how can you live with yourself or believe you're a moral person if you knowingly violate someone's wishes??
It just . . . seems like the default to me to help someone not be hurt by food. Since I home-make my food at parties, guests can't easily check ingredients, though if they wanted me to give them more specific information about it I would gladly let them look at my ingredient labels. Sometimes it's not about a food allergy--it's about a preference, like most vegans. Some people don't eat eggs or dairy. I don't HAVE to help them keep to this by disclosing what's in my food, but if I know about it and I can . . . why shouldn't I?
I have stickers next to my candy for if any trick-or-treaters need something that isn't candy.
Not required of course. But it really irritates me that there are actually people who dislike accommodation attempts. Especially since they're claiming that WE'RE self-righteous for being people who need it or being people who support it.