British Columbia

Teal Pumpkin Project helps B.C. kids with food allergies feel 'safe' on Halloween

A Vancouver mom is participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project which promotes "non-food" options for kids who have allergies or cannot eat sweets on Halloween.

Vancouver mom suggests offering non-food options like temporary tattoos and stickers

By painting a pumpkin teal, and you'll be letting trick-or-treaters with food allergies know that you're also handing out non-food items this Halloween. (rebekah_sue/Instagram)

A Vancouver woman is encouraging families to offer more than just candy to kids on Halloween night and to let others know by placing a teal pumpkin outside their home.

Lisa Buckley is participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project which promotes "non-food" options such as stickers, glow sticks or playing cards for kids who have allergies or cannot eat sweets. 

Food Allergy Canada launched the project for the first time in 2015 after the U.S. successfully adopted the program in the previous year.

Buckley's enthusiasm for teal pumpkins was spurred by her daughter who has life threatening allergies to peanuts, tree nuts and nut meg.

"Everywhere she goes, she has to carry two EpiPens ... she has to watch everything she eats, so that's a lot for a six-year-old," said the mom.

Halloween candy is packed of threats for kids with food allergies.

She and her husband sort through all candy before her daughter can even accept it in her treat bag. She says the project is a way to help her daughter to feel "safe" during a night as important as Halloween. 

"There's a way to do that by saying: sure, here's something so you can be included too, that's really easy [like] putting out a bowl of stickers."

That's what Buckley plans on handing out as her non-food option — stickers. 

She bought temporary tattoos but won't be distributing them after noticing soybean oil, a common food allergen, in the ingredients list. 

Despite how particular Buckley is with what she's choosing to hand out, she insists it isn't something she believes others "have to do."

If they choose to offer non-food options, it's a "kind" and appreciated gesture.

"It's saying we're allergy friendly, in the same way you might say we're gay and lesbian friendly ... it's being caring, it's reaching out to your neighbours and showing them understanding."


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