Hope everyone had a fun and spooky Halloween. I understand Halloween is now celebrated in more countries than it was five years ago. It’s a global world, our celebrations have to get global too. Why not ? 
It’s my favorite time of the year. I am always hungry for celebrations and my kids have taken upon me. My idea of celebration may not be partying necessarily. But it does revolve around having little rituals of our own for every occasion. Rituals that are mostly self-made and have taken birth in our home, sometimes due to circumstances. 
Up until two years back our Halloween ritual used to be a little different than what it is today. We would dress up in characters of our choice, decorate our home and load up on candies as everybody does. And then something changed around last Halloween.  We were introduced to the hundreds of children who probably take the Reese’s and Snicker’s from our home and never ever get to touch them and give them over to a friend or a sibling because they cannot eat it themselves. Or worse many do not even venture our for trick or treating at all. 
It is difficult to understand a situation unless you are hit by it yourself. In our case, my son was diagnosed with multiple food allergies. For the first time in my life, I understood clearly how life altering and life threatening it could be. It is not a tantrum that a parent with an allergic child makes. It is serious, I experienced it first hand. 
That set the new Halloween ritual at our home. Getting non-edible treats for the trick-o-treaters. The very first year, my daughter was very hesitant but understanding at the same time. “What if no came to our house ? What if no one liked any of these treats ? They want candies. We had stickers, glow lights, pencils, sharpies, crayons, yo-yo’s and necklaces instead.”, she had said.  She did not want to be different than the rest. As the first few set of kids came in, their reaction upon seeing the treats was “Wow, This is so cool.” We let them pick what they want. Very soon, I saw my daughter inviting over kids to our home. She was no longer hesitant. To many of her friends, she explained why we were doing so. 
The treats – The only candy you notice are free of most allergens. 
This time along, it was an established ritual. We had a blast shopping for Halloween treats and the children who came over were thrilled too. “Can I take another shiny sticker please? “ “Do these Yo-Yo’s light up ?” “I am Elsa, can you give me a blue necklace please.” “Who needs candies ? Glow sticks are more fun.” That’s what we heard through out the evening and the treats were all gone as we wrapped up that night. 
This whole experience has taught me one thing. People are more receptive of accepting something different than we think they are. We keep things concealed in fear of opinions or judgments. But the truth is that if we are candid about what is different in our homes, in our lives and if we find ways to celebrate them, people are most likely going to embrace our celebrations too. So celebrate everything that is different. Life is a like a rainbow, it would not appeal without all its colors. 
Pictures and Story By : Piya Mukherjee 
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