“Why were you carrying a blue pumpkin into the party?” my neighbor asked with a slightly confused yet inquisitive look on his face.
Bingo I thought!
“So happy you asked”, I replied.
I proceeded to tell him about the Teal Pumpkin Project which is a campaign to raise food allergy awareness and provide a safe alternative to candy for children with food allergies on Halloween. The pumpkin is painted teal because teal is the food allergy awareness color. He said he had never heard of it but thought it was a great idea.
“Do I need to paint a pumpkin teal?” he asked.
“If you want to, that would be great but it isn’t necessary.” I answered. ”My son and I had fun painting ours this morning (as I showed him my partially painted teal fingers). There are flyers that you can download from an organization called Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) at www.foodallergy.org which you can post on your door”…and so the conversation continued.
I was really excited that both he and several other neighbors at our Halloween party last weekend were intrigued by the pumpkins and said that they would participate.
Last Sunday, I mentioned the project at church and a member said that she heard about it on the morning news! Awesome, the word is getting out to the public.
As a matter of fact, I told the woman in charge of our children’s ministry about the Teal Pumpkin Project. Every year thousands of kids come to the Trunk (not a typo for you eagle eyes) or Treat event where volunteers decorate their cars and give out candy to the neighborhood kids on Halloween This year she decided to add several teal pumpkins with non- food treats in support of the project!
I think the project is great in that in includes many children who may not regularly trick -or -treated for fear of having an allergic reaction. The project does not call for a ban on candy merely offers a safe alternative.
FARE even has two free downloadable PDF posters that read “Non-Food Treats Available Here” and “We Have Candy and Non-Food Treats Here!”
What kind of non-food treats?
Glow sticks, plastic spiders, stickers, plastic bracelets, pencils and erasers just to name afew. I’ve been giving out candy and non-candy treats for about 3 years now and the non- candy treats have always been a big hit with the kids. I load up at the dollar store with all sorts of goodies including purple, blue and orange vampire fangs!
FARE’s official statement is, “The Teal Pumpkin Project is designed to promote safety, inclusion and respect of individuals managing food allergies – and to keep Halloween a fun, positive experience for all.”
The idea was actually started by Becky Basalone of the Food Allergy Community of East Tennessee (FACET). See Allergic Living Magazines interview with Becky who came up with the idea in 2012.
So whether you have a teal pumpkin, orange pumpkin or both (like us), I hope you have a
For more Halloween tips and tricks, check out my other posts:
Are you trick -or- treating this year? Any other ideas? Would love to see your teal pumpkin, please post below!
Supporting the Food Allergy Circle
Donna DeCosta, MD ( @foodallermomdoc ) is founder of FoodAllergyMomDoc an online community dedicated to supporting the Food Allergy Circle with tips, ideas and resources and author of A Little Bit CAN Hurt: The Shocking Truth about Food Allergies — Why We Should Care, What We Can Do.