by Angela Jenkins, LENA President
One of the most celebrated and iconic holidays is coming up. I’m sure, for most of us, planning is underway to decorate and transform the landscape with headstones, mummies, skeletons, spider webs, and other ghoulish items. Halloween is a celebration observed in many countries that surprisingly has a rich and interesting history. That however, is perhaps an article for another day. While we typically celebrate the occasion going door-to-door in our fancy, ghoulish, and scary costumes collecting sweet delectable along the way, there is a subset of the population who are excluded; those with food allergies as well as those with other medical conditions and dietary restrictions.
Sadly, these kids are often not able to partake in or able to enjoy and have as much fun as everyone else on Halloween. Some may think it’s not a big deal because their parents can remove them however as many of you know, part of the excitement is to be able to enjoy a few as you go from one house to another! For kids with allergies or other conditions, the temptation may be too great or they may not fully understand the reasons for not able to enjoy these treats while their friends are happily enjoying the sampling of sweetness. Even if the treat itself is allergen-free, it is possible that it was produced in a facility that processes other items containing the allergens and therefore could cause a reaction when touched. This makes it even more difficult (and nerve wrecking). I didn’t and haven’t thought about this much until this past week at the LENA meeting where we were brainstorming ideas for the upcoming events. Comes the Teal Pumpkin Project idea…..the concept was launched nationally by the Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) in 2014. Its mission is simple: to ensure that kids with food allergies are able to enjoy and have as much fun as everyone else on Halloween.
While I’m not proposing we do away with candies all together, I was reminded that the concept is not well known. As such, it was decided that we include the concept in the upcoming Fall Fest with our very own unique spin. This year’s Fall Fest is scheduled for Saturday, October 29 at 4PM. We will begin with a costume parade around Lake Edge Park followed by a “scavenger hunt” to various households offering allergen free items in the neighborhood. Many of the details have yet to be determined so if you’re interested in helping out, please let me know! So, now that you’re on board (at least I hope!), you want to know what this entails. Here are some suggestions to get you started:
You may find these at local stores such as the Dollar Store, Target (in the bargain bins section), or online from the Oriental Trading Company (www.orientaltrading.com) where you can purchase many of these in bulk.
3. Sign up to participate in the LENA Fall Fest!
4. What to do with the left over items? Well, Halloween
is just a few days away and you may offer both candied
and non-candied items to those lovely
I hope you will join us in raising the awareness as well as to promote a community that is inclusive to all.
Learn more about the project here: http://www.foodallergy.org/teal-pumpkin-project#.V97csPkrK00.
Articles are written and submitted by members of the Lake Edge Neighborhood Association, residents, business owners, community members, and elected officials in the Lake Edge neighborhood or vicinity.