This Halloween, you can support children in your communities who live with food allergies and special diets. Some children are on restricted diets to help manage behavioral issues, while others may live life-threatening food allergies. Whatever the case may be, children on restricted diets struggle to participate in holiday festivities– especially Halloween. The Teal Pumpkin Project aims to change all that and make Halloween safe and fun for everyone.
The Teal Pumpkin Project
What is the Teal Pumpkin Project?
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.
The non-profit Food, Allergy, Research & Education decided to make the Teal Pumpkin Project a National project in 2014. It aims to help kids with food allergies celebrate Halloween by raising awareness and creating a safe way for them to trick-or-treat. Homes wishing to provide non-edible treats should display a teal pumpkin by their front door to let trick-or-treaters know safe goodies are 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.
You can also download flyers or order window stickers from the FARE website. Stickers, pencils, glow sticks, bouncy balls, and figurines are just a few ideas for non-food items.
How to Particpate in The Teal Pumpkin Project
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)!
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, you can find a ton of non-candy treat ideas that will make even the grumpiest of ghouls and the most wicked of witches smile.
Check out FARE’s website and take the pledge to include ALL children in your Halloween festivities. Share the Teal Pumpkin Project story and pictures of your pumpkins on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook using the hashtag #tealpumpkinproject.
Will you offer non-food treats this Halloween? What will kids find at your house?
Find more Halloween Fun in Lake County.
By: Holly G.
Holly keeps busy with freelance writing, as well as many volunteer ventures including PTO, dog rescue, and Lakes Region Historical Society. She is quick to pitch in for a good cause. She is an aspiring vegan, Jazzercise addict, runner, coffee junkie, and enjoys cooking.