Local Woman on a Teal Pumpkin Mission
Prince George, B.C. – This Halloween can be special for all children if local residents lend a helping hand by offering something other than food items to trick or treaters.Birgit Zorzi’s son has multiple food allergies, so Halloween has become a major disappointment for him. Unlike most other kids, he can’t enjoy the simple treats that are the typical offering to costumed kids on Halloween.
He is not alone.
It is estimated one in 13 children suffer from a food allergy, so offering food alternatives is a way to make Halloween more inclusive for all trick or treaters.
Zorzi is promoting the “Teal Pumpkin” project, which encourages residents to offer alternative treats, such as glow sticks, small toys, stickers or anything that isn’t edible. She says that in the past, she has made up goodie bags for her son and had them dropped off at homes in the neighbourhood where she and her son would then “retrieve” on Halloween “I thought it was a good idea and I was happy with that, and I posted it on Facebook to see if there were any other moms who would be willing to pre-plant treats at each others houses and then we could all go trick or treating together.” She says she was surprised by the response “I got a huge response on my facebook , there were tons of comments and a few shares, and that got me thinking this could be something, so I posted it to a special needs group I belong to and someone there pointed out the Teal Pumpkin project.”
The Teal Pumpkin project was first launched three years ago by a mother in the U.S. and has now been embraced and sponsored by the Food Allergy Research Organization. The idea has residents post a “Teal Pumpkin” poster in the window, ( or paint a pumpkin teal colour, teal pumpkins are also available at Michael’s crafts). The poster can be downloaded from the Teal Pumpkin project.
“It’s not just kids with allergies” says Zorzi “You don’t have to talk to many teachers to know what kind of week happens after Halloween”. Offering non edible treats also reduces the risk of food tampering.
The Teal Pumpkin project also offers an interactive map, so parents know where Teal Pumpkin homes are located “The map allows us to see the houses and go directly to them. What would be really nice is if there is a handful of houses in each neighbourhood so nobody has to get into their cars and drive around.”
Right now, there are only a couple of Prince George Teal Pumpkin homes identified on the interactive map, but Zorzi hopes the momentum will build “It’s been a great response, so another mom in Prince George, has started a facebook group called “PG Halloween Houses that Offer Non Food Items“. People are posting their addresses, and it’s gaining with quick momentum.” She says the group has grown from 4 to a 100 in just a couple of days.