Got Kids With Food Allergies? Look for Teal Pumpkins This Halloween
FARE's Teal Pumpkin Project raises awareness for food allergies and promotes the inclusion of all trick-or-treaters.
Teal is the new black (or, actually, orange). That’s because FARE's Teal Pumpkin Project seeks to include children with food allergies in classic Halloween festivities. Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises against trick-or-tricking during the COVID-19 pandemic, parents can still lean about this inspiring initiative, and find out more about the teal pumpkin meaning.
What Does a Teal Pumpkin Mean?
Teal is the official color of food allergy awareness. The organization FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) picked up on the Teal Pumpkin Project from an allergy group in Tennessee, and they now promote it nationwide. The concept is simple: If you see a teal pumpkin on someone's doorstep while trick-or-treating, the house will give out small toys instead of candy to kids with food allergies.
Food allergies affect roughly one in 13 children today, according to FARE. Some of the most common allergens include nuts, egg, milk, soy, and wheat—all of which are common ingredients in popular Halloween candies. What’s more, FARE says that mini-sized candies may not have labels, and they sometimes contain different ingredients than full-sized versions. Giving out toys instead of or in addition to candy allows kids with food allergies to have a safe, fun trick-or-treating experience.
How to Participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project
Hundreds of thousands of households have committed to distributing non-food treats on the holiday. If your neighborhood is hosting some form of safe, socially-distanced trick-or-treating, FARE gives simple instructions for participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project:
1. Instead of or in addition to candy, give out small items like mini slinkies, spider rings, Halloween-themed erasers, or vampire fangs.
2. Place a teal pumpkin in front of your home. You can paint the pumpkin, color it with markers, or buy it somewhere like a Michaels craft store. If you don't have a pumpkin at your house but want to support the cause and give out small toys along with your typical candy selection, you can download and print off a picture of a teal pumpkin to hang in a window or on a door here.
3. Register your home with the Teal Pumpkin Project map. Note, however, that FARE isn't providing a map for 2020, since they're playing it safe because of the pandemic.
4. Let family and friends know about the initiative.
Teal Pumpkin Candy Alternatives
Not every toy may be safe for kids with allergies. For example, FARE says that some moldable clays contain wheat, and latex-based products may also spark a reaction. Safe alternatives are glow sticks, pencils, stickers, bouncy balls, playing cards, stencils, bookmarks, slinkies, coins, and more.