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Have you heard of the teal pumpkin project? Have you seen teal pumpkins when out and about and wondered what was going on? I’m here to tell you what it is and how easy it is for you to participate!
teal pumpkin project
The teal pumpkin project is all about raising food allergy awareness and making Halloween more inclusive. It offers an alternative treat for children who can’t have candy. It honestly goes beyond food allergies to include children who might not be allowed to have candy for non-allergy reasons. The teal pumpkin project makes a candy-filled holiday slightly healthy. Best of all? It is SO EASY.
1: display a teal pumpkin at your house
You can paint a real pumpkin or buy a fake one. There are also super cute flags for sale, inflatable pumpkins, yard signs (split this set of eight with friends and neighbors!), leaf bags, and more. If you’re lucky enough to have a Target, they have a ton of amazing and affordable options, some of which support FARE!
Don’t have time to paint a pumpkin or don’t want to buy anything? No problem! FARE has a number of signs you can download for free. Print one out, stick it on your door, and you’re good to go.
2: offer a non-food treat
There are tons of really fun non-food options you can offer trick-or-treaters. Some of my favorites include:
–play dough (though this could be an issue for wheat allergies)
-art & school supplies (crayons, pencils, erasers, stamps)
Get creative here! Costco has a giant package of legos. I think it would be really cool to put 4 or 5 bricks together as a Halloween treat. Just about every child I know over the age of three enjoys building with legos.
If you decide to offer candy as well, make sure the two are kept separate. On Halloween night, if you’re offering both food and non-food treats, I’d encourage you to simply present both bowls to every child. This way, the child with food allergies can feel even more included (versus them having to say they have food allergies). You may also be surprised about how many kids pick a non-food treat!
3: add your house to the teal pumpkin project map
If I’m being totally honest, I really only consider the first two steps mandatory. Even so, I would be doing everyone a disservice if I didn’t mention this map. FARE has an online map that you can add your house to so everyone knows you’re allergy-friendly. This year’s map will be available on October 1st.
4: encourage others to participate
I’ve shown you how easy it is to take part in the teal pumpkin project. Can you do the same with someone else? Share this post? Send a note into school? Use the #tealpumpkinproject hashtag when you share your teal Fall decor on Instagram? The possibilities are endless!
I will also add that the teal pumpkin project can (and should!) extend beyond Halloween night. If your child’s school is celebrating Halloween, be sure to share the teal pumpkin project with their teacher. If your neighborhood participates in “BOOing,” FARE has you covered.
For those local to VT, I’m soon going to share a list of Halloween events that I know are allergy-friendly.
5: make some children (and parents) VERY happy!
This last step is pretty darn special. And I’ll warn you, I’m going to get a little sappy for it. I wish you could have seen the look on Ollie’s face a few weeks ago when he picked from an entire shelf of allergy-friendly cookies for the first time. You also would have seen me fighting back tears. Allergy kids are used to being different. They’re used to not having what all the other kids do. By offering a non-food treat this Halloween, you’re fighting back against that. You’re including them. You’re making them feel safe.
You are also helping allergy parents like myself breathe a little easier. I don’t want to hover over Ollie at every house and when I see a teal pumpkin, I might not have to. Every teal house is one less piece of candy we have to trade away at the end of the night. You have no idea how much that means.
Thank you for considering this very worthy cause. I can’t wait to turn it teal with you! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask!