Raise awareness of food allergies and promote inclusion of all trick-or-treaters throughout the Halloween season by painting a pumpkin teal and placing a sign (like the one below) outside of your home!
By Kelly Youngblood
Halloween is supposed to be a scary time of year, but for families of children with food allergies it can be downright frightening.
That’s why the Teal Pumpkin Project got started three years ago- to raise awareness in communities about food allergies and to encourage people to offer non-food items for trick or treaters.
To participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project, all you have to do is paint a pumpkin teal (the color of food allergy awareness) and set it outside with one of these free printable signs. Then have a bowl of non-food items ready to hand out to any trick our treater who has a food allergy.
Examples of inexpensive, non-food items include pencils, stickers, erasers, spider rings, vampire teeth, etc. Some non-food items do contain allergens such as wheat (found in Play Dough) or latex. For a more complete list of non-food items that are safe to hand out, go to this link.
Amy Jessup of Mahomet is an APN and leads the Carle Food Allergy Education Program. She is also a mom who has had experience managing her son’s peanut allergy. Jessup said being the parent of a child with a food allergy can be anxiety-provoking on a regular day and even more stressful during the holidays.
“The risk of reaction is much higher when you’re out of your norm. When you throw a holiday in there, that’s when you see a lot of accidents happen,” she said.
Jessup says the Teal Pumpkin Project is a visual reminder that “shows families that they’re not so isolated and people are understanding and trying to support them and their efforts to keep their kids safe.”
Jessup said about 1 in 13 children have a food allergy.
The Teal Pumpkin Project is not intended to replace the tradition of handing out Halloween candy- it’s just a way to make trick or treating more inclusive for all children. To make the experience safer, keep candy and non-food items in separate bowls.
Fore more information about The Teal Pumpkin Project, go to http://www.foodallergy.org/teal-pumpkin-project.
For more information on Blue Pumpkins and tips for making Halloween inclusive for all, see our post.