A local family is promoting inclusiveness this Halloween by participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project here in Estevan.
Michelle Neighbour and her children love Halloween but know that the spookiest holiday can be challenging for families with severe food allergies.
"My daughters have food allergies," Neighbour told Discover Estevan, "and Halloween tends to be a really sucky event for them. For example, my daughter Paige used to go trick-or-treating for three hours and come home with only three to five items she could eat, which was always disappointing for her."
It's for this reason that Neighbour advocates for households to consider participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project by picking up non-food items this Halloween to hand out as an alternative to traditional Halloween candy. Substitute items could include stickers, pencils, erasers, toys, glow sticks, and much more.
The Teal Pumpkin Project is a Food Allergy Resource and Education (FARE) centre program that "encourages people to raise awareness of food allergies and promotes inclusion of all trick-or-treaters throughout the Halloween season. The nationwide movement offers an alternative for kids with food allergies, as well as other children for whom candy is not an option" (Teal Pumpkin Project Website, 2018).
And it is simple to participate!
"There's a printable sign to put on your door that says 'We have non-food items for kids with food allergies' and kids with food allergies will see your sign and speak up about it, letting you know they would like to be included," Neighbour said when asked how people can get involved. "You can also paint a pumpkin teal and put it outside, but if you don't have time to do that, the sign is just fine."
Other ways to participate, include going online to TealPumpkinProject.org and registering your house on their Teal Pumpkin Project house map. That way, families can look for households in their neighbourhood that have options for their children. Also, make sure to spread the word and let other people know about the Teal Pumpkin Project.
Neighbour finished by telling Discover Estevan, "My daughters are 15 and 17 now and aren't trick-or-treating this year but they love seeing the smile on kids' faces when they come to our house, and we have something fun for them! It always feels good!"
So this year, try making Halloween black, orange, and teal for children with food allergies!