A child in my immediate family has food allergies and it broke my heart when he couldn’t partake with his cousins when they all crowded around a plate of cookies. It’s something small to someone who may not deal with food allergies on a daily basis but a bigger issue for a family who faces similar scenarios frequently.
Halloween can be an especially challenging time for these kids and their families as schools have parties with candy that are off-limits, stores are filled with treats that are forbidden and all their friends are trick-or-treating and filling their baskets with chocolate and candies that contain threatening allergens.
This Halloween, a creative idea for everyone to make these children feel included in the festivities is painting pumpkins teal and putting them outside your home for trick-or-treating as a sign that the house is food allergy-friendly.
Teal Pumpkin Project
Two years ago, the Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), came up with an idea to help make Halloween safer for these kids and less stressful for their parents.
They asked people across the country to swap out their candy and treats for non-food trinkets to hand out to trick-or-treaters. To tell the little pumpkins, astronauts, and goblins that their house was safe for kids with food allergies, FARE suggested painting a pumpkin teal and putting it outside for everyone to see.
Teal is easily recognizable, especially during the twilight hours of typical Halloween trick-or-treating and it’s such a great idea to make sure everyone is included and that no kids are left out of the fun.
Grateful Parents & Kids
Homes that choose to paint their pumpkins teal elicit a huge sigh of relief from parents who are out with their little ones who are allergic to some types of food, including nuts, seeds, or dairy, many of which are found in traditional Halloween candy.
“Trick or treating has been a difficult holiday to participate in with our son, who has several food allergies. Last year, he was able to only eat five candies out of his entire bucket,” explained Emile Dowd, a mom of two adorable boys and owner of WonderLight Photography in the Greenville area.
“The Teal Pumpkin Project has made it a lot easier for our little guy to enjoy and participate in trick-or-treating alongside his friends. It’s fun to see him so excited when we come to a house with a teal pumpkin and we’ve been really grateful for those that take the time to include all children! Hopefully more and more people decide to participate each year so that kids with allergies can feel included in the festivities.”
FARE offers some ideas to get the word out in your own neighborhood about the Teal Pumpkin Project like putting up flyers (you can download premade ones at FARE’s website), making a homemade sign that sits with your teal pumpkin to help explain it, and posting about it on social media using the hashtag #tealpumpkinproject. Be sure to post about it as well in your neighborhood Facebook page or website.
Why not make Spartanburg an example for others to follow in the entire country? Let’s do it.
Ideas for Non-Food Things for Trick-or-Treaters
Instead of candy, teal pumpkin families can give out:
Little dinosaur toys
The Oriental Trading Company even has a page dedicated to people who want to participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project with special offerings on non-food items.
Order your items now to arrive in time for Halloween or pick them up at a dollar store. The smiles from children, and their parents, who see that teal pumpkin will be worth the Halloween swap this year.
Let us know how your #tealpumpkinproject goes and post your photos to our Kidding Around Spartanburg Facebook page or tag us on Instagram at @kidaroundsc.
Do you have a child in your family with allergies that restrict Halloween activities?