Kids with food allergies won't have to worry about not being able to trick-or-treat this Halloween, thanks to the Teal Pumpkin Project.
The program, which is entering its second year locally, was brought to the area by Alexis Corbin, a mother who knows first hand how disheartening it can be for a child with allergies come Halloween. While other children are out trick-or-treating, kids with dietary restrictions are either unable able to tag along, or can't enjoy the treats they collect.
Through the Teal Pumpkin Project, kids are given small trinkets, such as glow sticks, bouncy balls, pencils, stickers and other small toys in place of Halloween treats.
“He (Corbin's son) couldn't eat anything that he got from Halloween, but he still loved participating,” explained Corbin, adding the program allows for kids who may not be able to enjoy Halloween otherwise a chance to not just participate, but get something to enjoy, too.
The Teal Pumpkin Project was started in 2014, through the Food Allergy Community of East Tennessee in the United States, with 14 countries participating last year. It is only hosted in a handful of communities in Canada.
In 2015, the project was held in Cold Lake for the first time, and saw about 70 Teal Pumpkin participants.
“It was the ones that needed it, like my son, who was overjoyed by Teal Pumpkins and knowing that whatever they gave him was something he could enjoy.”
Corbin added they are hoping to get the same number of participants this year.
Participating is simple; residents can either paint a pumpkin teal, or print a sign and place it in their window where it will be visible from the sidewalk. They pin themselves on the map located on the Teal Pumpkin Project Facebook page, so kids can map where to go.
“You can offer the regular treats you would hand out to kids, and then you have some alternatives for those that need them,” Corbin said.
She added, “We were all kids once, and I cannot imagine being a kid and not being able to enjoy Halloween or any other traditions because of allergies… It's not their fault that they have allergies, and they should still get to have a fun time like all of their peers and siblings.”