MONCTON – “Trick or treat! But no chocolate or candy please.”
A New Brunswick mother is trying to help kids with food allergies enjoy a safer Halloween by encouraging people across the Maritimes to take part in the “Teal Pumpkin Project.”
A simple chocolate bar could be deadly for her son, Campbell.
“He is anaphylactic to dairy,” says Harris, meaning that if Campbell consumes any dairy he could have an immediate severe and life-threatening allergic reaction.
“I have to be careful what I eat,” said 7 year old Campbell.
Angela Harris and her son, Campbell, put teal pumpkins outside their home to let children with allergies know they can trick or treat at their home. Shelley Steeves/Global News
Angela Harris and her son, Campbell, put teal pumpkins outside their home to let children with allergies know they can trick or treat at their home.
Shelley Steeves/Global News
He know that if he eats any milk products his throat could close off within minutes. That’s why he and his mom are taking part in the teal pumpkin project that is now spreading across the country.
“It’s to provide basically non food treats and allow kids with food allergies and other medical conditions the chance to go trick or treating,” said Harris.
The project started in the United States but was launched in Canada last year by Food Allergy Canada. The goal is to get more people to give out toy trinkets for Halloween instead of candy, so that children like Campbell, who follow special diets, can safely enjoy the ghoulish holiday.
“It’s really good that the people are thinking that some people can be allergic to milk or dairy or something like that,” Campbell said.
It’s easy to take part. People can simply paint a pumpkin teal and place it on their porch.
It’s easy to take part – just paint a pumpkin teal and place it outside your home. Shelley Steeves/Global News
It’s easy to take part – just paint a pumpkin teal and place it outside your home.
Shelley Steeves/Global News
“Or we have posters you can print out to let people know you are a teal pumpkin house,” Harris said.
She says then people know they can stock up on a few non-food treats for trick-or-treaters.
“It could be balloons we have some nice plastic things, bracelets that sort of thing.”
Campbell has his favorites.
“I like hand wrist bands that are glow in the dark,” he said.
There are more than 100,000 households taking part in the world-wide campaign. Harris says people can register their address on the “Teal Pumpkin Project” map online. She is hoping more people will join in across the country because there are many children living across the region whose allergies are even more severe than Campbell’s.
“The teal pumpkin campaign is also important to kids who are celiac could have other medical conditions, diabetic what have you, that absolutely can’t have food of any sort.”