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Teal Pumpkin Project aims to make Halloween less scary for allergy sufferers

Teal Pumpkin Project offers an allergy-friendly Halloween in Regina
WATCH: For parents with children who have food allergies Halloween can be a scary time, but the Teal Pumpkin Project aims to make Halloween safe for everyone. Katelyn Wilson explains.

For parents with children who have food allergies, Halloween can be a scary time, but the Teal Pumpkin Project aims to make Halloween safe for everyone.

Launched by Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) in 2014, the project provides an alternative for kids with food allergies.

Instead of the traditional Halloween candy, people are encouraged to hand out non-food items like stickers, glow sticks and other trinkets.

READ MORE: Teal Pumpkin Project aims to make Halloween safer and inclusive

In order to participate, all it takes is a teal pumpkin or a sign letting the little trick-or-treaters know there are allergy safe options available. There’s also a map where people can register their homes.

Abigail Frasz decided to join thousands worldwide by participating in Regina’s Teal Pumpkin Project for the first time this year.

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“There was one year a little boy came up to the house and said, ‘Oh no I can’t have that, I just want to show you my costume,’ and his mom mouthed and went, ‘Food allergy’ and I went, ‘Oh,'” Frasz said.

According to Food Allergy Canada, nearly 500,000 children are affected across the country.

READ MORE: Baby Halloween costumes make Edmonton NICU less scary

Having a daughter with food allergies, Megan Kaytor started promoting the project in Regina two years ago.

“Peanuts is a huge one and many people do offer the non-peanut treats, but for ones like mine who can’t eat any dairy, gluten, soy, eggs, it’s very limiting,” Kaytor said.

While it’s slowly growing, Kaytor hopes more people will start participating.

“Last year I think there was about 12 houses, and this year when I saw the map there was only three so I started promoting it,” Kaytor said. “I started sharing the links; now there’s 25 houses on the map.”

READ MORE: Spooky Saskatoon: ghost stories from Nutana

As another option, the City of Regina is also selling healthy Halloween passes for a free child admission to any leisure facility.

“We invite residents who are interested in offering healthy options or healthy options and candy, or allergy-free options to buy a pack of 10 child and youth admissions for five dollars and give those out [on Halloween],” said Melissa Coderre, coordinator of business services for the City of Regina.

Meanwhile, Frasz is busy getting ready for her favourite spooky holiday, knowing she’s helping make a difference.

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“It doesn’t take very much time to make a kid’s day,” Frasz said, “and putting a little positivity out there is what our community needs and I’m glad this will keep growing.”