Halloween is a scary time for most people, but it can become truly horrifying for someone with food allergies who is not careful. That is why the Teal Pumpkin Project started. If you have been seeing teal painted pumpkins in stores, you know what I’m talking about. This tradition originated with the Food Allergy Community of East Tennessee (FACET) and when FARE heard about their idea, they promoted the initiative in 2014, and it’s impact has expanded every year.
What does a Teal Pumpkin mean?
A house with a teal pumpkin means promises to provide alternative treats to trick or treaters who can’t have traditional Halloween candies. This is generally manifested in stickers, pencils, tops, coloring books, and other dollar store novelty items.
Why does it matter?
Many Halloween candies contain at least one of the top 8 allergens and providing non-food treats allows the 1 in 13 children with the opportunity to get something from their time out trick or treating. These non-food treats benefit kids with other medical issues like diabetes or feeding tubes too.
If you didn’t already guess from my lovely website theme, teal is the food allergy awareness color.
How do you participate?
Well, back home, my family paints a pumpkin teal and puts up a sign from FARE’s website that says that we offer candy and non-food treats. We have a large bowl filled with fruit-flavored candies that are free from the top 8 allergens (like skittles and dum dum lollipops), a second bowl with traditional chocolate candies, and a third bowl with non-food treats. This way, we have a treat for everyone.
Here at college, I’m not quite sure what to do yet on Halloween. I painted a mini pumpkin teal during our October floor meeting, so that’s a start. I doubt college kids actually trick or treat to each other’s dorms, but just in case, I have some leftover pencils and bookmarks from my project that I might end up handing out.
How can I participate?
Luckily for you, FARE has a web page filled with all kinds of ideas for how you can participate, including pdf templates for printing all kinds of goodies and some other information about how you can spread the word.