September 15, 2008
By Sophia Hu, Dayton, OH

Halloween is my favorite time of the year. Costumes and haunted houses are only part of this spooky holiday but, it’s really all about the candy: Crunch bars, Milky Ways, Three Musketeers, and of course, Hershey’s! I know all the brands of chocolate by heart. Last year, I dressed up as a Hershey’s Kiss and went trick-or-treating to the same houses each year that gave out whole bars of Hershey’s chocolate bars. I’ve always been a chocolate addict ever since I could remember learning to walk. Research has shown that chocolate does indeed, have addictive properties, which makes me feel a little better, knowing that being an addict is not completely my fault. But, there’s only one problem: I’m deadly allergic to peanuts.
Chocolate did not make a good first impression on me. When I was introduced to my first Snicker’s bar at the age of three, I was greeted by a red, swollen face, an itchy tongue, a tight throat, slited eyes, and a trip to the emergency room. But somehow, that horrible incident made me all the more ardent about wanting to eat what I couldn’t (and shouldn’t).
Since then, my parents have developed a higher sense of awareness to my allergy. No matter how well I try to hide my condition after sneaking a piece of chocolate in my mouth, they can always tell when I do “The Forbidden.” As a result, they used to threaten to cancel my trip of the year (I had been begging to go to Hershey Park), but I usually just shrugged the threat off because I had already received my moment of pleasure. But, as I started to secretly indulge in chocolate more often, the you-can’t-go-to-Hershey-Park lectures grew to be fewer in number until they stopped all together. My parents probably decided that their speeches were futile and that they would let me take the consequences.
My eyes have always been acute to the may contain peanuts signs written in tiny letters on nearly all the packages of my favorite snacks, but I would read it as might contain peanuts instead of contains peanut, so I would always end up with a couple of prominent pimples on my face and rashes on my body, though I won’t tell where. When my parents offered me a brand of organic chocolate that contained no peanuts, I refused to eat the chocolates that had little flavor compared to my favorite brands. If only my favorite brands, such as Hershey’s, would make chocolate without peanuts.
Up to this day, I still do not understand why chocolate factories do not separate the manufacture of peanut products and peanut-free products. After all, wouldn’t their businesses benefit more if people with peanut allergies purchased their goods? Sometimes, they try to deceive customers by leaving out the may contain peanuts signs on candies, but that doesn’t seem to work. At first, I thought that only the United States processed peanuts with non-peanut products, but when I went to China, I realized that it would take a global effort to stop this peanut epidemic from spreading. One of my goals for the future is to start a company that manufactures a brand of peanut-free chocolates.
I don’t like it when people pity me. It only shows how they can’t see beyond my weakness and see me as a person whose life does not just evolve around this one flaw. If that’s the case, why don’t they pity everyone? Everyone has a weakness in some form or another, but it’s just that mine is “more obvious” because it is physical.
Over the years, my peanut allergy has taught me many valuable lessons. I’ve learned that one moment of pleasure is not worth three weeks of pimples and rashes. I’ve also learned to stay true to my body. What I mean is that my family often doubts some of the foods that I accuse to contain peanuts, only to realize that I was indeed correct when it was too late. Perhaps, self-control over my impulses is my most notable lesson. My ultimate test is this upcoming Halloween.

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