Trick-or-Treat alternatives in Manheim, E-town

By on October 25, 2017


Trick-or-Treat will be observed in municipalities throughout the county from 6 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 31. Instead of the traditional door-to-door search for Treats, Northwest EMS is offering an alternative at its facilities in Manheim and Elizabethtown. The emergency services provider is participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project, offering a no food alternative for children with food allergies or sensitivities.

“Food allergies are prevalent in our society. It’s not just nuts; some people have a reaction to items made with gluten, milk, or eggs. The goal of our event is to allow kids to experience the joy and tradition of trick-or-treating on Halloween, to normalize their lives,” explained Lori Shenk, Northwest EMS community outreach manager, “Some parents are also concerned about the amount of sugar their kids may have if they go door-to-door trick-or-treating, so everyone is welcome at our event.”

Each child attending the Teal Pumpkin event will receive an allergy-free toy and coloring book, as well as an opportunity to select an item from a trick-or-treat bucket. Information about Northwest EMS outreach projects and brochures from FARE about food allergies will be available for parents.

Trick-or-Treat is also about costumes. Volunteers at the event will be costumed, and Shenk said some Northwest EMS staff may also dress up.

The Teal Pumpkin Project is a nationwide endeavor of FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education). Shenk said she learned about the initiative last year, but it was too close to Halloween to coordinate an event.

“All of the community outreach programs that we host have an educational focus,” she said. “We promote health and safety.”

Shenk pointed out that FARE’s website,, is packed with information about food allergies. A like to the organization’s Teal Pumpkin Project also allows access to an interactive map that shows homes and organizations participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project.

She reached out to area businesses for support of the project. Ben Burkholder, a Bainbridge farmer, donated 35 pumpkins and two bales of straw to be used as decorations. WellSpan Family Medicine Manheim provided coloring books, while Union Community Bank donated piggy banks. A number of other businesses donated funds toward the project.

While the Teal Pumpkin Project event is new this year for Northwest EMS, Shenk said the organization plans to continue its tradition of distributing candy in residential areas.

“A number of businesses donate candy for us to distribute. We appreciate those donations,” she said, “Our staff uses the candy distribution as a way of getting to know residents and offering them a peek at the inside of an ambulance.”

Lori Shenk, Northwest EMS community outreach manager, prepares for the organization’s Teal Pumpkin Project event, which offers a no-food Trick-or-Treat alternative for children with food allergies or food sensitivities. (Photo by Rochelle Shenk)

Light the Night

Northwest EMS’ Teal Pumpkin event is not the only Trick-or-Treat alternative in Manheim. Teen Central is partnering with Grace Community Fellowship, Newport Dove, New Life Fellowship, and Erbs Mennonite to host Light the Night in the mini-park at the corner of High and Main Streets during the same hours as trick-or-treat.

Light the Night will feature family-friendly activities and treats. Teen Central’s facility at 15 S. Wolf St. will be open and will serve as the loading/unloading area for a tractor-pulled hayride.

For more information about the Northwest EMS Teal Pumpkin Project event, contact Lori Shenk at 717-371-8282. For information about Light Up the Night, contact Randy Boll, executive director of Teen Central, at 717-575-5577.

Rochelle Shenk is a correspondent for the Lititz Record Express. She welcomes your comments and questions at

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