Thursday, October 16, 2014

Please Join Me in the Teal Pumpkin Project - Making Halloween Safe for Food Allergy Kids!

My twin boys have life-threatening food allergies to Peanuts & Tree Nuts.

There are so many life changes that happen to us because of it. Not only do we struggle at bday parties, vacations, etc...they have also NEVER had the chance to trick or treat!

As they get older, it's been a harder battle to endure. When they were younger, they didn't know what they were missing...they would get dressed up and we would make a "big deal" about passing out candy/glow sticks to other kids as they came by. By the time they were 6, they started to realize that they weren't going door to door. At age 9, it is the battle of - I want to go with my friends. I feel so awful saying no and my husband and I have struggled on allowing them to go and just hand over their treats to their friends. We cannot even sort candy, nut oil is strong - one peanut item would be all it would take to possible contaminate the whole bag. 

Then the Teal Pumpkin Project came along....when I saw it I cried!

This is such a small thing, but it means the world to kids like mine!!! Did you know that 1 in 13 kids suffer from a food allergy? That's a lot of kids who might feel left out of the festivities.

I know my boys do...even though we open our house up and have a party with plenty of safe candy and treats for's still not the same.

I will be passing out flyers in my neighborhood, in hopes that some houses may be willing to participate. They even have a flyer made up - if you would like to do the same and help spread the word: get it here. Of course, I will be proud to display our BIG teal pumpkin and sign!

We will still have candy...just safe candy like sixlets, gummies, suckers, etc..

Plus, we always have glow sticks - they are inexpensive and great for the night!

I implore you to paint a pumpkin teal and make this holiday inclusive and not exclusive! 

What's the Teal Pumpkin Project?

The Teal Pumpkin Project encourages people to start a new tradition and raise awareness of food allergies during the Halloween season by:

providing non-food treats for trick-or-treaters,

and painting a pumpkin teal – the color of food allergy awareness – to place in front of their house along with a free-printable sign from FARE to indicate they have non-food treats available.

The idea for the Teal Pumpkin Project originated with the Food Allergy Community of East Tennessee (FACET), and FARE is pleased to be bringing it to the attention of families across the country for the first time this year.

What do I do if I want to participate?

Participating is simple – paint a pumpkin teal, pick up some inexpensive toys and download FARE's sign to show that you have non-food treats to hand out. It's a simple gesture that can have a big impact. You can also download FARE's promotional flyer to circulate in your local community so that your neighbors can participate too!

Why teal?

Teal is the color of food allergy awareness.

Are there any non-food treats that I should avoid?

There are a few considerations when choosing which non-food items to hand out. First, some non-food items still contain allergens, such as Play-Doh, which contains wheat. Additionally, try to choose latex-free items, as there are children who also have latex allergies.

Can I still pass out candy?

Sure – just do it safely! The point of the Teal Pumpkin Project is to make trick-or-treating as inclusive as possible. You can keep the experience safe by keeping your food treats and non-food treats in separate bowls, and by asking trick-or-treaters if they have any food allergies or giving them a choice of which treat they'd like: candy, or a non-food item.

How do I get my neighbors involved?

Print out some of FARE's flyers and put them in your neighbors' mailboxes. If you have a neighborhood email lists: you can send out an email about the initiative, including a link to FARE's website. You can also reach out to your local library, dentist/doctor offices, schools, or community buildings to see if they would be willing to help you post signs or get the word out. Share information on social media, and post a picture of your teal pumpkins when you have them near your door! Don't forget to use the hashtag #TealPumpkinProject when you post!

Ideas for Non-food Treats

Available at dollar stores, party supply stores, or online shops, these low-cost items can be purchased and handed out to all trick-or-treaters, or made available in a separate bowl from candy if you choose to hand out both options. Nearly all of these items can be found in a Halloween theme or festive colors.

Glow sticks, bracelets, or necklaces

Pencils, pens, crayons or markers


Halloween erasers or pencil toppers

Mini Slinkies

Whistles, kazoos, or noisemakers

Bouncy balls

Finger puppets or novelty toys


Spider rings

Vampire fangs

Mini notepads

Playing cards



For more information, Q&A, plus a sign - go here:

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