What is the Teal Pumpkin Project?
Fall is here, and that means Halloween is right around the corner and you might be hearing about something called the Teal Pumpkin Project. Halloween is all about costumes, tricks, and treats, but for some, the treats can be the most dangerous part of the holiday.
When I was a kid, Halloween was my least favorite holiday. To be honest, I never really got into it. Sure, I had some pretty epic costumes (thanks to my super creative mom!!), but it was too depressing. After a fun-filled evening of getting all the candy I could, I’d have to come home and sort my candy. While every other kid dumped their candy out and busted into it, I sorted it into the “can-have” and “cannot have” piles.
Take a big stab at which pile was bigger…
When you have a dairy allergy, candy is not your friend. Now I had amazing parents who took me out before Halloween, bought me my favorite special treats, and replaced the candy I couldn’t have with that. I was not deprived in the least. But it still was hard to find the joy in the holiday.
I turned out just fine and had plenty of joy, so don’t go feeling too sorry for me! But all you kiddos out there having these same struggles? I hear ya.
A few years ago I began seeing teal pumpkins everywhere. It was all over social media, so I looked into it. I found out it was made just for those kiddos who had the issues I had, to help them feel the same joy as all the other kids.
And my heart truly soared. The person who came up with this is an amazing human, there are no other words for it.
So what is the Teal Pumpkin Project? Let me tell you what I’ve learned.
What is the teal pumpkin project?
The Teal Pumpkin Project is a movement begun by Food Allergy Research and Education to make Halloween safer and enjoyable for all kiddos. When families see a house with a teal pumpkin out front, they know that there are non-food options available for children with food allergies or other conditions.
When I came across this project, I was truly touched. This is such a wonderful campaign that allows all children to enjoy Halloween, whether they have food allergies or intolerances, or other conditions that limit their diets as well.
For more information, visit the Food Allergy Research and Education website.
How do you participate?
So you might be wondering, how do I participate?
The first thing you need to do is put a teal pumpkin in front of your house. You can paint your own, or you can buy one. Many stores are now selling fake pumpkins that are already teal to make it easier for you.
Next, you add your house to the map. Go to this website, fill out your information, and families in your area will be able to see that your house is available.
This is probably the best part of the project. Parents are able to look up their address on the Teal Pumpkin Project map and see all of the houses in their area that have non-food options available. Then they can plan their route accordingly.
How special is that???
Last but not least, on Halloween make sure your teal pumpkin is out by your front door, your light is on, and you’re ready to go with non-food items for those adorable little trick-or-treaters.
Ideas for non-food items
It’s so wonderful to have this option for kids that have food allergies or other conditions, but it can be difficult to figure out what to hand out in place of candy.
Here are some teal pumpkin project ideas for non-food items to give out on Halloween:
- Stress balls
- Bouncy balls
- Pens or markers
- Spooky plastic rings
- Glow sticks
Summing it up
To sum it all up, the Teal Pumpkin project is a signal for families to know that a house is safe for their child with food allergies or other conditions. It gives joy to children with these conditions and provides inclusion for all.
Not only that, it allows parents to breathe easy on a night that is anxiety-producing for many reasons.
Now it’s your turn. Will you be participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project?
**Research and information synthesized from the Food Allergy Research and Education website.**