Halloween is a holiday most of us associate with spooky costumes, fun decorations, and loot bags full to the brim with candy; but for many, it can be scary for reasons other than the obvious ghouls and goblins.
Trick-or-treating is a childhood rite of passage. We all have fond memories of stuffing our pillowcases with handfuls of candy, getting home, and eating our spoils. Unfortunately, almost all conventional candy bars contain common allergens like seeds, nuts, soy, and dairy, thus making it not only a disappointing event, but a potentially dangerous one for those who suffer from serious food allergies or other conditions, like diabetes. With an estimated 1 in 13 American children suffering from food allergies, it is truly an issue to be concerned with.
Enter: the Teal Pumpkin Project. Launched by FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education), the Project’s goal is to educate the general population on the dangers of food allergies, and how we can best make Halloween a safe and fun holiday for everyone. According to their website, in 2015 the Project had participation from all 50 states and in over 14 countries worldwide. As word travels, they anticipate an even greater showing this year.
“We are thrilled to see so many people embracing the Teal Pumpkin Project as a way to ensure kids with food allergies can enjoy a safe, fun Halloween experience just like their friends,” says Veronica LaFemina, spokeswoman for Food Allergy Research & Education.
So how do you participate? You can simply paint a pumpkin teal and place it on your doorstep, indicating that you are offering non-food treats for trick-or-treaters. You can also print out a mini poster from FARE’s website to post outside of your door, similarly telling allergy families that they are safe to accept treats from your home.
All it takes to enrich more kid’s lives on Halloween night is some affordable paint and a basket of Dollar Spot prizes. I can imagine how hard it is for parents of children with allergies to watch them be disappointed at every party, holiday, and gathering when they’re unable to partake like their peers. Let’s put out our teal pumpkins and do our part to make Halloween special, for everybody!
Rachel is a wife and mother living in Raleigh, North Carolina. She’s a fan of good coffee, wearer of gray t-shirts, and is constantly starting books she will never finish. Her family is her joy, and she loves to engage with other moms and dads on matters of parenting. Her blog posts have also been featured on the Today Show Parenting Blog and Scary Mommy.