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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta has 3,651 active cases of COVID-19. (File photo)
432 new COVID cases sets another record Friday

Central zone holds steady at 126 active cases

"We are looking seriously at the spread and determining what our next steps should be," says Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, as the daily number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb.
427 new COVID cases is highest in Alberta ever

Central zone has 126 active cases of COVID-19

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Temporary COVID-19 testing sites coming to Wetaskiwin and Ponoka

The Wetaskiwin location will open Oct. 23, 2020 and the Ponoka location will open Oct. 29.

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
City and County of Wetaskiwin reporting active cases

Both the City of Wetaskiwin and County of Wetaskiwin have active cases.

Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw updates media on the Covid-19 situation in Edmonton on Friday March 20, 2020. nbsp;Alberta is reporting it's highest daily number of COVID-19 cases, with 364 new infections. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta confirmed 323 COVID-19 cases Tuesday

Central zone active cases at 145

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau. (Black Press Media)
VIDEO: One day until B.C. voters go to the polls in snap election defined by pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan’s decision to call an election comes more than a year ahead of schedule and during a pandemic

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Leader of the Opposition Erin O’Toole rises during Question Period in the House of Commons Thursday October 22, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
O’Toole tells Alberta UCP AGM Liberals were ‘late and confused’ on COVID response

He says Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has taken charge and not waited to make things happen

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives for an announcement at a news conference in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Inquiry into oil and gas foes to deliver report next year: Kenney

A lawsuit filed by environmental law firm Ecojustice argues the inquiry is politically motivated

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

This photo provided by Air Force Reserve shows a sky view of Hurricane Epsilon taken by Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter team over the Atlantic Ocean taken Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020.   Epsilon’s maximum sustained winds have dropped slightly as it prepares to sideswipe Bermuda on a path over the Atlantic Ocean.  The National Hurricane Center says it should come close enough Thursday, Oct. 22, evening to merit a tropical storm warning for the island.  (Air Force Reserve via AP)
Hurricane Epsilon expected to remain offshore but will push waves at Atlantic Canada

Epsilon is not expected to have any real impact on land

A voter places her absentee ballot in the ballot box, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, at Merrill Auditorium in Portland, Maine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Robert F. Bukaty
American voters living in Canada increasingly being counted in presidential race

The largest number of Canadian-based American voters cast their ballots in New York and California

A composite image of three photographs shows BC NDP Leader John Horgan, left, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Sept. 25, 2020; BC Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau, centre, in Victoria on Sept. 24, 2020; and BC Liberal Party Leader Andrew Wilkinson Pitt Meadows, B.C., on Sept. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck, Chad Hipolito
British Columbia votes in snap election called during COVID-19 pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan called the snap election one year before the fixed voting date

Nunavut's provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, on Tuesday June 30, 2020. The annual report from Nunavut's representative for children and youth says "complacency and a lack of accountability" in the territory's public service means basic information about young people needing services isn’t tracked. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Nunavut’s young people ‘should be expecting more’ from government services: advocate

‘The majority of information we requested is not tracked or was not provided by departments’

Most Read