Oct 25, 2023
The Teal Pumpkin Project: Make Halloween More Inclusive
4 minute read
Halloween is a time of fun and excitement, especially for kids who eagerly anticipate dressing up in costumes and collecting treats. However, for children with food allergies, this holiday can be a bit tricky… and also overwhelming. That's where the Teal Pumpkin Project comes into play. Read on as we explore the idea behind the Teal Pumpkin Project, share some fantastic non-candy Halloween treat ideas, and show you how you can be more inclusive on this spooky day of the year.
What is the Teal Pumpkin Project?
The Teal Pumpkin Project is a nationwide initiative that started in 2014 to promote inclusion and safety during Halloween for children with food allergies. The idea is simple yet incredibly impactful. Participants place a teal-painted pumpkin or a Teal Pumpkin Project sign in front of their homes to signal that they offer non-candy treats for trick-or-treaters.
Why Do Non-Candy Treats Matter?
Food allergies affect millions of children in the United States alone. For these kids, traditional Halloween candies can pose serious health risks. Offering non-candy treats ensures that everyone, regardless of their dietary restrictions, can enjoy the Halloween festivities without worry.
How to Participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project
Here's how you can take part in the Teal Pumpkin Project and make Halloween a fun and safe experience for everyone:
1. Get a teal pumpkin. The first step is to acquire a teal-colored pumpkin. You can find teal pumpkins at some stores — or you can have some fun painting one yourself. The color teal was chosen as the official color by organizations such as Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) to raise awareness and promote understanding about the challenges faced by people with food allergies. Teal is not commonly associated with any particular food group, making it a neutral and inclusive choice to symbolize the diverse range of food allergies that people can have.
By adopting teal as the awareness color, it helps draw attention to the importance of food allergy education, safety, and support for those affected by food allergies.
2. Display your teal pumpkin. Place your teal pumpkin prominently on your doorstep or porch. Make sure it's visible to trick-or-treaters.
3. Put up a Teal Pumpkin Project sign. You can download and print an official Teal Pumpkin Project sign from the Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) website. This sign lets families know that you have non-food treats available.
4. Make it fun. Create a festive atmosphere around your teal pumpkin display. Consider adding Halloween decorations or carving your teal pumpkin with fun designs to make it even more inviting.
5. Educate yourself. Familiarize yourself with common food allergens and the potential risks associated with them. Understanding the importance of allergen safety will help you create a safer environment for trick-or-treaters. Some of the most common food allergens that may make it into candy include peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, soy, and wheat.
Wonder if you could be allergic to peanuts? Cleared by LifeMD offers peanut allergy testing that you can do right from home.
6. Spread the word. Share your participation in the Teal Pumpkin Project on social media or with your neighbors. You can even add your home to the Teal Pumpkin Project map on the FARE website. Encourage others in your community to join in and create a more inclusive Halloween experience.
7. Offer non-candy treats. Purchase a variety of non-food treats to offer alongside or instead of traditional candy. More on this below!
8. Be allergy-conscious. If you choose to offer both candy and non-food treats, be extra mindful of cross-contamination. Keep those items separate, and avoid any items with allergen warnings.
9. Be respectful and inclusive. When interacting with trick-or-treaters, be respectful of their choices. Some children may choose non-food treats even if they don't have allergies. The goal is to foster an inclusive and enjoyable experience for all.
10. Share your experience. After Halloween, consider sharing your experience participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project with friends and family, or on social media. It can inspire others to join next year.
Non-Candy Halloween Treat Ideas
Have fun getting creative (or practical!) with some non-candy Halloween treats that will delight all trick-or-treaters. Here are a few ideas:
- Stickers and temporary tattoos: Provide sheets of colorful stickers or Halloween-themed temporary tattoos that kids can enjoy decorating themselves with.
- Glow sticks and bracelets: Glow sticks, bracelets, and necklaces in fun shapes and colors can add an exciting element to Halloween night.
- Pencils and notepads: Halloween-themed pencils, mini notebooks, or notepads with fun designs can be practical and entertaining.
- Bubbles: Small bubble bottles with Halloween-themed labels can be a hit with kids of all ages.
- Finger puppets: Hand out finger puppets featuring Halloween characters or animals.
- Coloring books: Provide small Halloween coloring books along with crayons or colored pencils.
- Bookmarks: Halloween-themed bookmarks can encourage reading and make for a useful and fun treat.
- Squishy toys: Soft, squishy toys in various shapes and colors can be a sensory delight for kids.
- Keychains: Halloween-themed keychains or novelty keyrings can be attached to backpacks or bags.
Join the Teal Pumpkin Movement
Halloween is a time for everyone to have a spooktacular time, and the Teal Pumpkin Project ensures that children with food allergies can partake in the fun without having to worry about their safety. And the same goes for their loved ones!
By offering non-candy treats, you're not only making Halloween inclusive but also spreading joy to all the little ghouls and goblins who come knocking on your door. So paint your pumpkin teal, get creative with non-candy treats, and let's make this Halloween a fun celebration for everyone.
If you or someone you love is living with a food allergy, Cleared by Life MD can help ensure you’re taking the right precautions. Make an appointment to talk online with a board-certified doctor or nurse practitioner.
Dr. Payel Gupta
Medically reviewed by Dr. Payel Gupta
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