Canadian woman launches campaign for trick-or-treaters who can’t eat candy

The teal pumpkin is a welcome sign for families whose kids can’t have candy

Halloween has always been Katrina Fontaine’s favourite time of the year.

But as a person living with a serious, life-long genetic illness, the Rossland resident is also aware of the problems it creates for many people.

“I’m really lucky, I’m able to eat candy and as a kid I was able to participate in trick-or-treating,” she says. “But I know lots of families with similar conditions who haven’t had that ability.”

Many issues can create barriers for kids to participate in trick-or-treating, says Fontaine, from allergies, juvenile diabetes or being tube-fed, to having swallowing or digestive problems or auto-immune disorders like celiac disease.

That’s why two years ago Fontaine started the “Teal Pumpkin” campaign in her community of Rossland, B.C.

The idea is simple. Paint a pumpkin teal-coloured, put it on your doorstep as an indicator that you have non-edible treats available. Instead of sugary candy, children can be offered a small toy.

Fontaine, whose illness means she can’t work, says the campaign is a rewarding effort.

“It’s a great way for me to get involved in the community, and to try to make Hallowe’en a little more inclusive for children who might not be able to participate,” she explains.

Fontaine and her friend Bryony Clark prepared about 20 pre-made packages for families who may want to participate. For $10 to $20 you can buy a pre-painted teal pumpkin and a package of toys, however she doesn’t want money to be a barrier for people to participate.

She says the response has been tremendous. She’s sold out all the pre-made packages, and says another 15 families have made up their own packages. (See the sidebar for ideas to create your own self-made package)

“I think Rossland is a great community where this is something that is supported,” she says. “People are quite health-conscious, and even if people don’t have those health issues, they still seem to understand the benefits of doing this project.”

Fontaine says there are many families in Rossland affected by various issues that can keep kids from participating in the holiday and it can help bring the fun of Hallowe’en back to them.

“It is hard for parents. It is really stressful and difficult to limit their children’s participating in something they know their children enjoy, but they know health-wise it’s not the best week for them.

“And I think it’s difficult all around. The children can’t participate in the same way and the families can’t participate with other families the same way.

“So I think this is a great way for people, they don’t have to self-identify and kids are still able to participate.”

Fontaine’s preparing a map of all the locations with teal pumpkins in Rossland for Halloween night, and will publish it to bhubble.com and the local Facebook community pages.

“Two years ago I sort of did it last minute. I wasn’t feeling well at the time,” she says. “But a local physician, Dr. Laara Banner, said ‘if you get the pumpkins, I’ll get the people together’. So we pulled it together in a couple of days.

“So we’re hoping that working a few more days in advance, a lot of families will benefit for sure.”

For more information, contact Katrina at kl.fontaine@gmail.com, on her Facebook page, or call 250-231-8770.

Handing Out Treats:

-If handing out both edible and non-edible treats, you can either mix them together or separate into two bowls.

-Depending on your preference and number of expected trick-or-treaters, you can let each kid choose between candy or a toy, hand out toys and no candy, or give them the option of candy and a toy or two toys (which makes it fair for the kids who cannot have candy).

-Feel free to share about the TPP but it’s also not necessary to do so when everyone is offered the same options. Kids don’t need an explanation about toys and the kids who require them will know to stay away from the edibles.

Suggestions for non-edible treats:

Glow in the dark (almost) anything

Spooky Halloween trinkets, mini skiulls, bones, vampire fangs, witch fingers

Stickers

Skipping ropes

Matchbox cars

Pencils, erasers, stamps

Mini Play-Doh

Just Posted

Alberta Election called for April 16th

Upcoming election will be about who is fit to be Premier, says Notley

Red Deer athletes qualify for Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru

The official Pan American Games will be held from July 26th to Aug. 11th

Local youngsters lend a helping hand to the Red Deer Hospital

First Steps and Beyond School students donate to Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Red Deer RCMP arrest man during break and enter in progress

RCMP found two males in the parking garage attempting to steal a vehicle

Red Deer RCMP announce new Officer in Charge

Grobmeier has 26 years of service with the RCMP where he has moved through the ranks across Canada

Five highlights in the 2019 federal budget

Latest budget includes a sprinkling of money for voters across a wide spectrum

2019 BUDGET: As deficit grows, feds spend on job retraining, home incentives

Stronger economy last year delivered unexpected revenue bump of an extra $27.8 billion over six years

Newfoundland man caught after posting photo of himself drinking and driving

The 19-year-old took a photo of himself holding a beer bottle and cigarette while at the wheel

Here are five political leaders campaigning in Alberta’s spring election

Rachel Notley, Jason Kenney, Stephen Mandel, David Khan, and Derek Fildebrandt

UPDATE Leduc RCMP say sexual assault claim was false

UPDATE Leduc RCMP say investigation revealed sexual assault never took place

Fought to unite Alberta conservatives: Former MP Kenney ready to run for premier

Kenney, 50, was born in Oakville, Ont., raised in Saskatchewan, and spent his adult years in Alberta

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley wants chance to ‘finish that job’

Notley, 54, is the daughter of the late Grant Notley, who led the NDP from 1968 to 1984

PHOTOS: Massive fire at Wetaskiwin’s Rigger’s Hotel

Multiple fire departments involved, building badly damaged

Alberta government announces further easing of oil production restrictions

The government said it will continue to monitor the market and its response to the increases

Most Read