11-Year-Old Boy Suffers Symptoms of Anaphylaxis While Trick-or-Treating, the Victim of a Prank


A mother in Christchurch, New Zealand, had the shock of her life after allowing her 11-year-old son to go trick-or-treating unsupervised.

She dropped her son off with friends at 6:30PM and remained in contact with him until she picked him up a half hour later.

She recounted her story to Newstalk ZB:

It was the first time that I’ve actually let them go trick or treating.

They were allowed to just walk around the block… then as soon as he hopped in the car, he said, “I know I shouldn’t have done it but some boys on electric scooters with ski masks on had lolly cake and offered me some.”

I said “you didn’t eat it?” and he was like “yeah I did”.

I tried to not freak out and tell him that it was a really silly thing to do.

I just said “oh no … did your friends eat it?” and he said “no, it was just me.”

The boy told his mother that his throat and mouth started burning and his lips started tingling as soon as he ate the cake.

The mom said her son had suffered anaphylaxis the year before and was prescribed an epinephrine auto-injector but they never determined what his trigger food was.

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His friends walked him to their home and he developed stomach pains by the time his mom arrived to pick him up.

She said:

He was just very, very quiet … he didn’t eat any Halloween candy at all … over the course of the evening, his stomach pain just got really intense and severe.

I immediately thought, you know, something could have been in that lolly cake.

Around 11PM his condition got worse when he began vomiting and developed diarrhea. His mom considered taking him to an after-hours doctor, but the office had already closed.

He finally fell asleep an hour later while his mother sat awake.

The following morning, she received a message from her teenage daughter, who had heard that “teenage boys put laxatives in lolly cake and were handing it out last night.”

The mom continued her story:

It all kind of clicked into place — and this is what I’d suspected last the night before. I’d actually spoken to my mum about it and said maybe they could have put laxatives or something.

I actually kind of thought it could have been something worse — if it could have been drugs.

We are happy tragedy was averted and the boy recovered. That said, everything about this story is terrifying.

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We understand that boys can be impetuous, but eating food given by kids wearing ski masks is egregious. Hopefully, he has learned his lesson.

Even given the fact that the son had been given a laxative (which the mom didn’t know at the time) the boy was showing obvious signs of anaphylaxis, including burning in his throat and mouth, tingling in his lips, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Despite the son having suffered anaphylaxis the year before and having been prescribed an auto-injector, the mother never did what she should have: administered the epinephrine and called emergency services.

Even though Halloween has passed, we remind our readers that trick-or-treating for kids with food allergies is especially problematic. They should be supervised until they can be trusted to follow the rules, should never accept unwrapped treats, and should never consume a treat until it has been cleared by the child’s caregiver.

What other advice would you give the mom? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Dave Bloom
Dave Bloom
Dave Bloom is CEO and "Blogger in Chief" of SnackSafely.com.

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  1. I think the biggest piece of advice that the doctor gave us was “Don’t be afraid to use your epipen. It will never hurt you to use it and not need it. It may just make your heart race and make you a little jittery. But it could kill you if you need it and don’t use it.” I would never be afraid to use it even if I am unsure if I really need it. One of my son’s biggest reactions was a cross contamination where I bought a rotisserie chicken at a grocery and it had nut dust on it from where they pour the nuts in the bins. Immediately after eating dinner, my son complained his stomach hurt and began projectile vomiting and diarrhea. He vomited for 45 minutes straight, one after the other. We should have used the epipen but didn’t realize he was having a reaction to his allergy. Now our protocol is to epipen first and fast. It won’t hurt him.


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