What kid doesn't love Halloween? The creative costumes, the fun games, the spooky decorations, and of course, the candy and treats! Halloween is often second only to Christmas in the hearts of kids, and I was definitely no exception!
But sometimes the candy would hurt me. I didn't know it right away, but I have celiac disease. Anything containing gluten would make me very ill. I remember sorting through my trick or treat bag with my parents and having to give up so many of the treats I had collected and how sad that made me feel.
For children with allergies and conditions like celiac, Halloween can be bittersweet. Nobody wants to spoil the fun or take away the sweet treats from others, but wouldn't it be nice for every child to feel included?
Food allergies are a life-altering and potentially life-threatening disease, and a public health issue. In Canada, one in 13 children has a food allergy -- that's roughly two in every school classroom. For these children, even a tiny amount of their allergen has the potential to cause a severe reaction.
We can all help to promote a safer, happier Halloween for everyone in the neighbourhood by supporting this project.
Halloween can be a tricky time for families managing food allergies. Many traditional Halloween treats aren't safe for children with life-threatening food allergies. The Teal Pumpkin Project promotes safety, inclusion and respect of individuals managing food allergies.
We can all help to promote a safer, happier Halloween for everyone in the neighbourhood by supporting this project. The Teal Pumpkin Project encourages people to raise awareness of food allergies and promotes inclusion of all trick-or-treaters throughout the Halloween season.
I love the Teal Pumpkin Project because of how it aims to make Halloween, safer, happier and more inclusive for everyone. By placing a teal pumpkin on your doorstep or printing a window sign, households can let kids and parents know that you have items like stickers, crayons and glow sticks available as treats, for those families who are concerned about allergies or other restrictions.
All kids love non-food treats, and it's not just kids with allergies who can benefit. There are children who have various conditions that may preclude them from having candy, or who can equally benefit from non-food treats, including:
- Food allergies
- Food intolerances
- Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE)
- Celiac disease
- Food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES)
- Children with feeding tubes
- Any child on a special diet
The goal is not to exclude candy from the Halloween tradition of trick or treating; it is simply to ensure that children with food allergies -- and other children for whom candy is not an option -- are able to enjoy a safe and happy Halloween, just like their friends.
So, that's why my pumpkin is teal this Halloween. It's for all the kids out there who want to be included, and for the little girl who still exists inside of me who loved to trick or treat, but didn't love becoming ill afterwards.
Ideas for Non-Food Treats
These low-cost items can be purchased and handed out to all trick-or-treaters if desired, and are available at dollar stores, party supply stores, or online shops.
• Glow sticks, bracelets, or necklaces
• Pencils, pens, crayons or markers
• Halloween erasers or pencil toppers
• Mini Slinkies
• Whistles, kazoos, or noisemakers
• Bouncy balls
• Finger puppets or novelty toys
• Spider rings
• Vampire fangs
• Mini notepads
• Playing cards
For more information on the Teal Pumpkin Project, visit the website.
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