If you notice a teal pumpkin outside your neighbors’ front doors this Halloween, chances are that it’s not just a decor statement. The Teal Pumpkin Project, a movement dedicated to raising food allergy awareness and helping kids with allergies trick-or-treat safely, is sweeping the 50 states. The project encourages people to offer non-food treats such as beaded bracelets, pocket-sized toys, fun stationery, and other candy alternatives to help trick-or-treaters with food allergies get all the benefits of trick-or-treating without worrying about an allergy.
Why is the Teal Pumpkin Project important?
About 1 in 13 children suffer from a food allergy in the U.S.—and approximately 30 percent of those kids are allergic to more than one food. And aside from crustacean shellfish and fish, the other six major food allergens include soy, milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, and wheat—ingredients found in most candy and chocolate bars.
Because just a small trace of an allergen can trigger a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis, many kids with food allergies can feel left out on October 31. To keep Halloween festive and inclusive for all with the idea of offering non-food treats, Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), a non-profit advocacy organization, began the Teal Pumpkin Project and has been helping keep kids safe since 2014.
The effort isn’t only aimed toward kids with food allergies. Children suffering from food intolerances, Celiac disease, and those who require other dietary restrictions can also benefit from the Teal Pumpkin Project. Plus, offering non-food goodies can also help your kids cut back on the three-cups’-worth of sugar usually consumed on Halloween.
How can you participate?Teal Pumpkin Project/Facebook
The project encourages people to participate by placing a teal-colored pumpkin outside their stoop (teal is the official color of food allergy awareness). If you want to participate but don’t have time to paint a pumpkin blue, FARE offers folks a free printout that you can hang by your front door. Adding your home address to FARE’s interactive map can also help trick-or-treaters with food allergies find your home. Make teal the new orange this season by spreading the word to friends, family, and neighbors to help make Halloween inclusive for all!