When witches go riding,
and black cats are seen,
the moon laughs and whispers,
‘tis near Halloween.
~ author unknown
The night for “trick or treat” is fast approaching and FARE’s Teal Pumpkin Project is again gearing up to create a safe Halloween for kids with food allergy.
The Teal Pumpkin Project, initiated in 2014, is a nationwide program that asks people to provide non-food treat options for trick-or-treaters. Teal has been the color associated with food allergy awareness for almost 20 years. So, project participants place a teal pumpkin – a painted pumpkin or a sign – near their front door, indicating non-food treats are available.
Teal Pumpkin Project participants can, naturally, give candy away as well. By keeping candy and non-food treats in separate bowls, all trick-or-treaters can have a fun, safe Halloween experience.
Many children with food allergies do enjoy dressing up and going out to collect candy with family or friends. However, they understand that much of the candy collected will have to be given away since many popular Halloween treats contain common food allergens such as nuts, egg, milk, wheat, or soy. Plus, some miniature and fun-size candies have different ingredients than the full-size versions, and mini candy-wrappers are often too small for readable nutrition labels.
Though most of us associate Halloween with bags of sweets, kids love getting non-food treats such as bouncy balls, friendship or glow bracelets, pencils, and stickers. Even trick-or-treaters without food allergies will sometimes choose a non-food item instead of candy.
Other non-food treat ideas are:
- Pens, crayons, markers, erasers, bookmarks, mini-notepads.
- Mini-Slinkies, kazoos, whistles, finger puppets, vampire fangs.
- Coins, bubbles, stencils, playing cards, rings, necklaces.
Last year, people in 50 states and seven countries participated in the Teal Pumpkin Project and this year participation is expected to expand. You can join in by taking the Teal Pumpkin Project pledge at FARE’s website (link below) and download a printable Teal Pumpkin sign for your home. There are other free resources available on the website, plus suggestions for getting your entire neighborhood to go teal.