Fight food allergies with The Teal Pumpkin Project
Halloween is an exciting time for all of us, especially the kiddos. They get to dress up as their favorite things while getting to run around the neighborhood at night with their friends. Of all things associated with Halloween, trick-or-treating is probably the highlight of the night for most kids and then they get to go home to open up tons of candy.
Here’s where the night gets tricky and frustrating for families with food allergies. The story for over 5% of kids or around 5 million children in the US, is that their parents first need to comb through all their kids’ candy and eliminate any that could cause a reaction for their child. Many kids watch their bucket full of candy turn into a small handful that they’ll be able to safely eat. Sometimes it is none at all. This is without mentioning the risk of younger children trying to sneak a piece of candy by their parent that could cause a severe allergic reaction. For these children, their fun night with friends can end up being sad, frustrating, and sometimes life-threatening.
The importance of the Teal Pumpkin Project
The Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) organization adopted the Teal Pumpkin Project nationally in 2014 as a way to bring awareness, fun, and safety to children who suffer from food allergies. Most popular candies contain at least one of the 8 common food allergens that affect children with food allergies, such as peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, soy, or wheat.
Most families get a few different candies to give out during Halloween, but the selection is still not enough for children with food allergies. This worldwide movement of the Teal Pumpkin Project is bringing attention to everyone that not all kids are able to enjoy this holiday and that it doesn’t take much effort at all to become a home that is friendly to food allergy sufferers.
How do I participate?
To participate is a simple, 2-step process. Place a teal pumpkin outside your home and give away non-food treats as an option during Halloween. If painting a pumpkin is too difficult, places like Target, Amazon, and Michael’s sell teal pumpkins that you can decorate and put right outside your home. If you don’t want to spend any money or don’t have any room for more decorations to store (we’ve all been there), then you can simply download our flyer from our Teal Pumpkin page and place it outside your home. Just make sure you’re offering non-food treats as well!
If you do end up participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project, you can register your home on the project participation map so families know where they can get non-food treats!
Non-food treats? Like what?
These can be anything small and inexpensive toys like bubbles or toy cars. Below is a list of different examples that you can find. I also wanted to mention that when you do participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project, you can still give away candy as a treat! Just make sure you keep it in a separate container and you’ll be able to give away treats to all trick-or-treaters this year! Don’t be too surprised when you have some kids and parents asking about the non-food treats or colorful pumpkins.
Here’s some of the most popular treats you can give away. All of these items can be found in abundance for quite cheap at local dollar stores or online!
· Bouncy Balls
Children who suffer from food allergies already feel excluded from many things in life. Halloween and trick-or-treating doesn’t need to be one of those times. Even if you’re a household with no food allergy sufferers, the Teal Pumpkin Project is an important and easy cause to support and bring joy to kids everywhere!
To learn even more about the Teal Pumpkin Project or to support financially, you can visit their website here.