Friday, October 4, 2013

A Halloween Wish: Project Sammie's Super Spooky Halloween Train

So Sammie is now gluten free AND casein free. We'll see how long it lasts and whether or not there are lasting effects, but so far we have definitely seen some changes in his vocalizations. In fact, my little guy can now sing (without words, but still...) "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" and has also started rediscovering "Mom" and "Momma", along with other sounds that he had when he was a young baby ('evil laugh', raspberry blowing, etc.)

Going GFCF really isn't all that challenging once you are used to it.  Granted, it definitely eliminates the "spontaneity" options like eating out and grabbing fast-food.  And it costs a holy fortune. But, overall, the transition is going well. Heck, Sammie even tried BBQ ribs last kind of broke my brain.

The biggest inconvenience of GFCF is limiting snack options in public settings. Take Halloween for example. Trick or Treating is now something to be very seriously considered, weighted, researched and- tragically- discarded.  There is no way I can risk just handing my ASD kiddo a whack load of candy, most of which I may not be able to properly check for ingredients, without seriously considering the consequences.  Given that the diet is so new and that Sammie is thriving so much, I can not justify exposing him to possible allergens and throwing his health back in jeopardy.

So, Halloween is out.

Or is it?

"If Mohammed can't go to the Mountain, the Mountain will go to Mohammed."

Halloween is simply too much fun and too much a part of social learning for me to cut it all together.

So today I sat down and wrote a letter to my neighbours.

I asked them to join me on a project that I know would rock Sammie's socks right off his feet.

I hope they will join me. 

I hope they won't judge me. 

I hope I get to have a Halloween with my son worth remembering forever. 

Is there a Halloween Fairy-Godmother? Cause I sure could use three wishes right about now.

Dear Neighbours,

Hello! Our names are Zita and Jason and we are the parents of 3.5 year old Samuel (Sammie) and seven month old Charlize (Charlie). We live at 17916 62C, just a few steps away from you!

As Halloween approaches, we are busy getting ready to celebrate this fun-filled time of year with our children. As exciting as this is, our family must take extra precautions this year to make sure that Sammie has a wonderful time.

Sammie is a bright, happy, affectionate and fun-loving little guy who happens to have Autism. This means that he doesn’t use words to speak, has some difficulty following social cues and interacting with others, and has to follow a very strict diet that includes no milk, whey, casein or wheat/grain products.

This limits his options for Halloween candy immensely, which is ok because he doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth. So instead, we have decided to do something a little different for him, to give him a chance to really enjoy Halloween like other kids.  Since Charlie is so young, we are in a position to really make this year’s event “all about Sammie”.

But we need your help to pull it off!

Sammie really loves trains! He can build model train tracks that are designed for adults, and can recognize and identify different steam trains from across the ages! We thought it might be fun for him, instead of trick of treating for candy, to build his very own “Halloween Train” instead.

Here’s what we are hoping to do:

  • Jason and Zita will purchase and decorate several different train cars in a Halloween theme.
  • On October 30th, Zita will drop a train car and a picture of Sammie in his costume (so you will recognize him at the door) into the mailbox of every house that is willing to participate in our project. (Please note: We know and respect that many of you may not celebrate Halloween, or would prefer not to participate for personal reasons. We truly will understand if you decide this activity is not for you.)  
  • On the 31st, Sammie will go around to only those houses and “trick or treat” for his train cars. He will be trick or treating between the hours of 6pm and 730pm. When he comes to your door, instead of giving him candy, you would give him the train car that we dropped off the day before.  
  • Once he returns home, he will find a fabulous “Graveyard” themed train track to play with to his heart’s content. 
If you think this project sounds like fun, and you would like to help us make this the very best Halloween ever for our little guy, please let us know by doing one of the following:

  1. Fill out the RSVP card and return it to us in the pre-stamped, pre-addressed envelope we have provided for you. 
  1. Email your RSVP to us at Please include the following information: Name (if you would like to disclose it) address, and best time to visit you on October 31st (between 6pm and 730pm)
  1. Call us with your RSVP at 780-757-1024. If we are not home, please leave a voicemail message with your RSVP information: Name (if you would like to disclose it), address, and best time to visit you on October 31st (between 6pm and 730pm)
In order to get everything purchased and decorated in time, we humbly request that all RSVPs for this project be received by October 20th.

If you choose NOT to participate, you can either RSVP with you address and  “NOT PARTICIPATING” using any of the previous methods, or simply not respond at all.  

Out of respect for all our neighbours, we will only be visiting the homes that have chosen to participate.

We sincerely thank you for your time in reading this letter and hope that you will join us in making this a special experience for our very special boy and our entire family.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call us at 780-757-1024. We wish you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving, and hopefully we will see you on Halloween night.

Best regards,

Jason, Zita, Sammie and Charlize 

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