Halloween can be spooky and creepy but it should still be safe for all trick-or-treaters.
By Angel Wyrwas
Halloween can be spooky and creepy but it should still be safe for all trick-or-treaters. That’s why the Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) began the Teal Pumpkin Project four years ago.
“One in 13 children in the U.S. has at least one food allergy, and reports show that anaphylactic food reactions have climbed dramatically in recent years,” said Lois Witkop, chief advancement officer with Food Allergy Research and Education. “It’s clear that food allergies are a serious public health issue that we all must take seriously. The Teal Pumpkin Project provides an opportunity for all of us to show empathy for kids who often feel excluded. It’s a terrific way for communities to come together and we would love to see at least one teal pumpkin on every block.”
No one wants to end a night of trick-or-treating in the emergency room so for many years, as food allergies were on the rise, parents just couldn’t let their children go door to door. The Teal Pumpkin Project has made it possible for trick-or-treaters with allergies to know which households they can safely visit. Last year, over 18,000 households from all 50 states participated in the project.
Participating is simple too! Paint a real pumpkin teal, using acrylic or spray paint or, purchase a teal pumpkin from a local retailer or online.
Place the teal pumpkin in front of your home. This indicates to passersby that you have non-food treats available. You can also display a free printable sign or premium poster from FARE. This will help explain the meaning of your teal pumpkin to visitors to your home.
Ideas for non-food treats are glow sticks, bracelets, or necklaces, pencils, pens, crayons or markers, bubbles, Halloween erasers or pencil toppers, mini Slinkies, whistles, kazoos, or noisemakers, bouncy balls, finger puppets or novelty toys, coins, spider rings, vampire fangs, mini notepads, playing cards, bookmarks, stickers and stencils.
There are a few considerations when choosing which non-food items to hand out. First, some non-food items still contain food allergens, such as some brands of moldable clay, which may contain wheat. Additionally, try to choose latex-free items, as there are children who have latex allergies.
Can you still pass out candy? Sure – just do it safely! The point of the Teal Pumpkin Project is to make trick-or-treating as inclusive as possible. You can keep the experience safe by keeping your food treats and non-food treats in separate bowls.
FARE’s Teal Pumpkin Project is a worldwide movement to help create a safer, happier Halloween for all kids. You can learn more and find printable games and signs at www.foodallergy.org/education-awareness/teal-pumpkin-project/get-started.