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Halloween can be a really fun time of the year with all of the trick or treating, costumes, pumpkins, and fun events. However, for parents of a child with food allergies, Halloween can be truly frightening. Research shows that as many as 1 in 13 children suffers from a severe food allergy. Many popular candies contain peanuts, wheat, soy, dairy, or eggs, some of the most common food allergens out there. No child wants to spend Halloween sitting at home while their friends are trick-or-treating, or even worse–in an Emergency Room on Halloween night.
The Teal Pumpkin Project
Have you seen a teal-colored pumpkin on someone’s step and wondered what it was all about? The Teal Pumpkin Project began in 2012, founded by a small town mom of two, Becky Basalone. As the director of a local support group called the Food Allergy Community of East Tennessee (FACET) and mother to a nut-allergic child, Becky came up with the idea of painting a pumpkin teal, which is the color of food allergy awareness. She handed out non-food items at her house on Halloween, such as glowsticks and spider rings, so that local kids with allergies could have a fun Halloween too. The following year, 50 homes in the community participated, and Becky was thrilled.
In 2014, The non-profit organization Food, Allergy, Research & Education (FARE) decided to make the Teal Pumpkin Project a national project, encouraging homes all over the country to prominently display a teal pumpkin and a sign in their window showing they have allergy-friendly treats available. Their goal is even bigger–they want to have one house on each block participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project. For parents of children with allergies, this is a game-changing addition to trick-or-treating.
Even if your child does not have allergies, you can teach them compassion and empathy by participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project. It’s so easy to participate! Here are some ways:
- Get a pumpkin at one of our local pumpkin patches and paint it yourself!
- Some stores sell a teal pumpkin kit that contains the paint and the brush (No carving or scooping out pumpkin goop required for this!)
- Purchase a pre-made plastic pumpkin at a local craft store.
- Print out one of the free printable signs from the Teal Pumpkin Project’s website to display in your window, so everyone knows you are participating.
Allergy-Friendly Halloween Treats
Your house can still be sweet and not scary. There are many allergy-friendly treats that you can pass out on Halloween. The Safe Snack Guide is a good resource as it lists hundreds of ideas like Mike & Ike candies, Tootsie Rolls, popcorn, Dots, Charms Blowpops, Smarties, Dum Dum lollipops, and mini bags of potato chips that are generally well-tolerated by most kids (always check the current packaging label.)
At Little Lake County, we may be slightly biased, but we like Surf Sweets gummy snacks (see our review)! You may remember them as the sponsor of our 2015 Playground Tour and your child probably brought home several bags home from the park at each event.
Non-Food Halloween Ideas
FARE offers several simple suggestions for non-food items to pass out to trick-or-treaters. However, I want my house to be the coolest house on the block. After a quick Pinterest search, I found several non-candy treat ideas that will make even the grumpiest of ghouls and the most wicked of witches smile.
The first idea is Halloween “Boo-bles” from Tater Tots & Jello. To make these, you need mini bottles of bubbles. You can buy them in bulk online or at your local craft or party supply store. You can either buy some cheap googly eyeballs, Halloween stickers or print off the free printable tag to decorate them. Even better, make your kids decorate them for you.
When I saw these super cute glowstick broomsticks, I was so excited. I like passing out glow sticks because it increases the visibility of kids walking around outside at night on Halloween. All you need to make these are simple stick glow sticks and some black fabric or brown paper bags. To jazz up this project, you can add a sign or a small piece of twine around it.
I would love to open up my son’s trick or treat bag and find new crayons rather than squished or sticky candy. This is a great way to use up all of those broken crayons at home, which I know I have a whole drawer full. To make these cute pumpkin crayons, you need a Halloween-themed silicone mold, old crayons, and an oven. It’s fairly effortless, follow the instructions from Live Simply about how to make them. There even is a free printable if you would like to use it with a Ziploc baggie, as pictured above.
I just had to include the make your own monster kit. It was too cute to pass up. You can be creative with this and throw in play-doh with whatever you have in your craft box at home, and voilà, you have a make-your-own monster kit. You can read instructions at The Simply Crafted Life, and find the free printable online.
Allergy-Friendly Halloween Events
Having an allergy doesn’t prevent you from getting out around town in your costume. Our Guide to Trick or Treating in Lake County has a complete list of trick-or-treat events and community hours. We’ve taken that list and selected which events are allergy-friendly Halloween events and are passing out only non-food items. We will update as often as possible.
COVID-19 Statement: Experts have advised that the best thing for our community during the current Coronavirus pandemic is to reduce crowded gatherings. Please exercise caution when selecting outings. Ultimately it is your decision if you choose to go to public events and spaces. For the best and most up to date information on the outbreak locally, please visit the Lake County Health Department COVID-19 status page.
Do you have tips or events we missed? Share them in the comments!
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