A great way to keep kids safe on Halloween, the Teal Pumpkin Project lets trick or treaters know that they’re at a home with allergy-free treats.
Most kids go trick or treating on Halloween and get to go home and cruise through on an amazing stash of new treats. Chocolate, chips, gum: the eatable treasures abound.
But others have a different reality: they go home and throw it all out.
Why? They suffer from food allergies. And sometimes, quite severe ones. Allergies to peanuts, dairy and nuts stop many children from ever participating fully in Halloween, due to the fear of coming into contact with problem via their candy.
But something called The Teal Pumpkin Project is changing all this.
The Teal Pumpkin Project is encouraging homes and other venues that are giving out candy on October 31st to place a blue colored pumpkin out front.
Teal has been the color of food allergy awareness for almost 20 years, and so displaying a teal pumpkin is an easy way to indicate that trick-or-treaters can collect a non-food, allergy-safe treat from a certain home, if they wish.
What kind of treats are recommended? Non-food treats such as glow sticks, bubbles, bouncy balls and spider rings are a hit with allergy-prone kids and can keep everyone safe.
While it might sound too non-traditional for some people to swallow, the program is finding success.
Last year, participants in the project could be found in all 50 states, as well as in 13 other countries around the world.
The project stems from a local awareness activity run by the Food Allergy Community of East Tennessee (FACET).
It was launched as a national campaign by Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), in 2014, and has become a growing success.
Here’s a step-by-step guide created by FARE on how to participate:
- Paint or buy a teal pumpkin and put it where trick-or-treaters can see it. Or just put out a sign (free downloadable versions are at FARE’s website).
- Get some non-food treats. Suggestions from FARE include: glow sticks, bracelets and necklaces; whistles, kazoos and noisemakers; bubbles; vampire fangs; playing cards and bookmarks.
- If you choose to give out candy, too, put it in a separate bowl. Offer both options to all trick-or-treaters- and do not be surprised if children with no food restrictions take some of the non-food items, previous participants say.
If you don’t usually give out candy on Halloween but still wish to help spread the word, some recommend hosting a teal pumpkin painting party with neighbors or friends and running a local fundraiser by selling them, or printing up these downloadable flyers about the Teal Pumpkin Project to hand out at schools, businesses or local events.
FARE says they hope to keep growing this worldwide movement to create a safer and happier Halloween for trick-or-treaters everywhere.
There are currently an estimated 15 million Americans living with food allergies, including 1 in every 13 children.
Experts estimate that children’s food allergies cost the economy almost $25 billion each year.
Astoundingly, every three minutes a food allergy reaction sends someone to the emergency department amounting to more than 200,000 emergency room visits annually.
Stay safe and go blue!