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The Teal Pumpkin Project: More treats, less tricks

by Brianna Ballard November 3, 2015
The Teal Pumpkin Project: More treats, less tricks

Some candy is deadly so some colour and more Halloween safety isn’t going to hurt anyone

Big, orange jack-o’-lanterns are the symbol of Halloween. No home would be complete without one on Oct. 31, but what if this year, people were swapping out the traditional orange colour for… teal?

Each of these pumpkins could represent a house with allergen-filled candy. Photo by Marie-Pierre Savard.

Each of these pumpkins could represent a house with allergen-filled candy. Photo by Marie-Pierre Savard.

The “Teal Pumpkin Project” is a movement that started in the U.S.A. and is now moving to Canada. Homeowners are putting out teal pumpkins to signify that the house is offering allergy-safe treats on Halloween for trick-or-treaters. For kids with allergies, this is great news; but for the back-in-my-day folks who have nothing better to do, it’s yet another thing to complain about.

Homes that are taking part in the Teal Pumpkin Project are offering kids things that won’t threaten their lives, and will give their parents peace of mind. They will be giving out non-edible treats, such as small toys or stickers, instead of potentially harmful candy for kids with allergies.

The concept of giving treats to kids for them all to enjoy safely shouldn’t be a controversial issue, but it seems to be. The comments section of an online article on the CBC News website is riddled with criticism. Remarks such as “the gluten panic strikes again” or “why not just ban Halloween completely?” attack a harmless gesture, seemingly without reason. Putting out a different coloured pumpkin won’t ruin anyone’s Halloween aesthetic, and giving out seasonal stickers instead of chocolate bars won’t disappoint any kids. On the contrary, allergy-free treats will make trick-or-treating way more enjoyable for all the little monsters running around on Halloween night.

But the people of the internet seem to think that kids are just being coddled these days—as if going into anaphylactic shock is character building instead of life threatening. True, no one likes helicopter parents who protect their children just short of wrapping them in bubble wrap, but no one can blame families that want their children to have a normal, exciting, and safe Halloween experience. If a child with a severe allergy or food intolerance gets a hold of the wrong candy, it could be dangerous, and this risk leaves children out of the fun of the holiday.

While everyone is more-or-less familiar with the common peanut allergy, things such as celiac disease, which is an extreme sensitivity to gluten, are not as well known. Kids with Type 1 diabetes, gluten sensitivities, and uncommon allergies have a tough time on Halloween. The candy they get from trick-or-treating has to be sorted out and the majority is inedible; some kids don’t go out for Halloween at all because it’s safer for them to stay away from candy altogether.

The Teal Pumpkin Project is nothing but a good thing. Children deserve to be kept safe on the spookiest night of the year, and a cool new colour for Halloween is hardly the worst way to do it.

Every kid deserves to have fun, regardless of their differences, so here’s to hoping we see a little more teal next All Hallow’s Eve.

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