Food allergies have been on the rise for decades, and families impacted by food allergies know that every day can involve tough choices and new worries over the safety of a food allergy sufferer, especially when that sufferer is a child. Children often encounter snacks and cross-contamination at play dates, at the park, and during extra-curricular activities. When Halloween comes around, it can be nearly impossible or trick-or-treat without coming into contact with a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup or even a lollipop made in the same factory as candy which contains nuts, wheat, dairy, and other allergens.
Fortunately, the folks at Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) have thought of a way to keep kids with food allergies safe on Halloween while still allowing them to dress up and trick-or-treat without fear or worry. The Teal Pumpkin Project is a nationwide effort to ask families to display pumpkins painted in teal on their front doorstep as a sign that they will be handing out non-food treats, like glow sticks, stickers, and other small toys instead of candy. Thousands of families are participating in the project, and you can make sure your neighborhood is a safe place for kids with food allergies, too.
First, head to your local party supply store. They’ll likely have small containers of spray paint in all colors, including teal. Paint a pumpkin a bright shade of teal, and place it on your front doorstep. The color teal goes really well with other fall shades, including other orange pumpkins! Next, stock up on small toys–– the kind you would put in a favor bag at a young child’s birthday party. Then, print out a sign from FARE’s website, letting your neighbors know the significance of the teal pumpkin. This will encourage neighbors to do the same, and will let families with kids who have food allergies know that your house is a safe spot for them.
This Halloween, make sure that no kids feel left out when they trick-or-treat at your home, by handing out toys instead of allergy-inducing candy. Not only will you be including kids with allergies in the fun of trick-or-treating, but you’ll be making parents of kids with and without allergies happy––no candy means no sugar highs and Halloween night crashes! The Teal Pumpkin Project makes Halloween a little more safe and a little more fun for everyone.