Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Successful Allergy-Safe Birthday Party!

I just wanted to share the what-I-consider-successful (no Epi-pen needed, no trip to the ER, no allergic reaction) birthday party that we had for my daughter's 3rd birthday.  We had it at *gasp* Chuck E. Cheese's!  I know it might seem completely insane to have a party for a severely milk-allergic toddler at a place with "cheese" in the name, but we just haven't ever had any problems there and she loves it.  I'm guessing it's because the one we go to is very clean and we always go early, when they first open up for the day, before too many sticky hands touch everything.  When we go for a regular visit, we go during the week, at 9:00 a.m. and we're often the only ones in the place.  There are no kids around eating pizza and touching things.  This is actually my daughter's second Chuck E. Cheese's birthday party and we have had great experiences both times. 

These are the allergy-friendly considerations I made for the party:
  • Goodie Bags - I made goodie bags for each child with non-edible treats.  It contained a sheet of stickers, a mini-Viewmaster-type toy, a plastic animal and a package of crayons.  
  • Cake - I made both the cake and the cupcakes, myself, and they were all "allergy safe".  I considered making my daughter a cake and ordering a CEC cake for the others, but I imagined the frosting and cake getting around and decided to make all of the baked goods.  The cake was made from Simply Organic Golden Vanilla Cake mix.  I found the vanilla flavor to be a bit overpowering, but it was certainly fluffy and edible.  My daughter loved the frosting, which was made with Spectrum Shortening, Earth Balance soy-free butter and confectioner's/powdered sugar.  (She seems to be doing fine with regular powdered sugar/cornstarch.)  The Hello Kitty face was made with home-made marshmallow fondant.  (I also used Earth Balance Soy-Free butter for that recipe.)
  • Cupcakes - I made a dozen cupcakes, using the Betty Crocker Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix.  There is a warning for soy cross-contamination, but it didn't seem to be a problem.  For the cupcake decorations, I used the same icing that I made for the cake, and I inserted Hello Kitty and Thomas the Train party favor rings into each cupcake.  (I washed and dried them, ahead of time, just in case.)
  • Lunch - I ordered pizza for everyone else (even though I cringed at the thought of cheesy fingers), but I sat my daughter one the end of the table and we sat on either side of her to create a "buffer zone" and I asked the staff members not to place any pizzas on her table.  I packed her a lunch with Ian's chicken nuggets, dehydrated apple slices and Mum-Mums.  I brought her own plate and a large pack of Kirkland wipes (from Costco - they are the best!!)  Between that and the cake, she was happy and well fed.  I also packed her Thermos of hemp milk!
Here are a few pictures:

I know these planning methods may not work for future birthdays, but for this party, I think it was pretty successful.  I certainly debated the choice of venue, but she really, truly loves to go there and she is not afraid of Chuck E. and actually loves to see him.  She loves the inflatable crown they give out and above all - grabbing for tickets in the Ticket Blaster!  I am so glad that everything went smoothly.  I watched her like a hawk, the rest of the day, to see if there would be any latent reactions, but she was fine and I am so very grateful for that.  


  1. The cake looks great! And your daughter looks happy as can be. So glad it went well! Congrats!

  2. WOW you are braving for having the party there! That is so encouraging. Glad it went so well...I know that feeling at the end of the day, when you realize WOW there actually were no reactions! Thank you for sharing.

  3. It was not without a fair amount of nail-biting, but we were certainly lucky!