When my daughter was two-years-old, I experienced my first uncomfortable Halloween moment. We had just returned from grocery shopping, and I gently lifted her out of her car seat and set her on the grass beside me. I was distracted and unaware of my surroundings, and let her play on the front yard while I grabbed the grocery bags in the trunk.
As my head was deep in the trunk, I heard Penny shout, “There’s hands coming out of the ground!”
I looked up and saw her standing in front of a plastic graveyard full of dismembered and bloody limbs peeking through the grass. Our next door neighbours, who have children much older than us, had set up this spooky graveyard as part of their Halloween décor. In fact, our street happened to really enjoy getting into the Halloween spirit, and over the next few days we saw more spooky ghosts and ghouls appear.
We spent the next few weeks trying to distract our two-year-old, and avoided the spookiest houses the best we could. Penny got used to the creepy bloodied hands, and so did we.
As someone who isn’t a fan of anything even remotely scary, I have always struggled with Halloween. As a child I ended my trick or treating quite young, and learned to quickly change the channel when scary commercials came on the TV. I was nervous when my children were young, and tried my best to shield them from the scary and gory images that pop up over the month of October.
But one thing I didn’t anticipate as an adult was how fun Halloween could be. My children love dressing up, going out trick-or-treating, and consuming copious amounts of candy at the end of the night. This year both of our kids have excitedly anticipated Halloween night, and I have been less cautious about the spooky houses, trying my best to shrug it off and let them know it’s “just pretend.”
Although I will never celebrate Halloween with blood and gore, I have learned to respect the fact that some will.
My trepidation has also led me to try and find ways to include everyone in the Halloween fun. This year we will decorate our house with a gentle approach to Halloween, and even as our kids grow I will avoid things that will be too scary for our younger neighbours.
I want to see our entire neighbourhood participating in the festivities on Halloween night. I don’t think anyone should be excluded. This year I saw an article about the Teal Pumpkin Project and I was intrigued.
I have always been focused on making Halloween light-hearted and fun, trying to cater to the younger kids, that I hadn’t thought about kids who can’t participate in trick-or-treating for a very serious reason: allergies.
The Teal Pumpkin Project was started in Tennessee, and is currently in its third year. The goal is to include all children in Halloween festivities, even those with life threatening allergies. Instead of offering food items, most people that participate in the project offer non-food items, like a dollar store gift. Houses that are participating signal their participation by painting a pumpkin teal.
The project had gained momentum quickly, with 14 countries participating. This year I have decided in the spirit of inclusion, that we will also participate. Although neither of our kids have life threatening allergies, I want to be sure that other children are able to come to our home and enjoy Halloween. We’ll have both peanut free treats and non-food items in separate bowls for our guests.
To learn more about the Teal Pumpkin Project, click here.
Will you be participating in the project this year?