Have you heard of the Teal Pumpkin Project? This Halloween trend is here to stay and is actually saving lives!
The Teal Pumpkin Project originated by a Tennessee mom in 2012 who wanted her child and others like them with severe and life threatening food allergies, to safely participate in the Halloween tradition of trick-or-treating. She painted her own pumpkins teal (now the color of Food Allergy Awareness) and spread the word in her neighborhood that they will be providing non-food treats at her home to include everyone on Halloween.
Common food allergens that can become life-threatening include; milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish, shellfish and sesame to name a few. By 2014 the Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) organization adopted this idea and launched the Teal Pumpkin Project nationwide.
My Teal Pumpkin Story
Working as a Clinical Registered Dietitian in Tennessee in 2014, my family learned about this and has participated every year since. In four short years, this idea has made its way to Target stores nationwide! Target is offering teal pumpkins, buckets, bags, flash lights and signage promoting and educating the public about the Teal Pumpkin Project, making it easy to participate in helping make Halloween a little less scary for children with severe food allergies.
Can I still offer candy? Yes! The teal pumpkin signifies that you have non-food treats available. Keep the toys in a separate bowl from your candy to make the transition safe and easy.
How to Participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project
Paint or buy a teal pumpkin to display so your trick-or-treaters know you are a safe place to trick-or-treat for their food allergies, offering something fun and non-food related. Target and Michaels carry official FARE teal pumpkins, and a portion of the proceeds supports the Teal Pumpkin Project to promote inclusion and raise awareness of food allergies.
Purchase non-candy treats to give out. Here are some ideas:
- Spider Rings
- Glow sticks/bracelets
- Vampire Teeth
- Silly Straws
- Crazy Glasses
- Bouncy Balls
- Halloween Pencils
- Mini Notebooks
Costco, Target, and Dollar Stores are all great places to get a variety of non-candy treats!
*Something to note: if you give out Play-Doh, most children with Celiac Disease may avoid this toy because it is made with flour and contains gluten which needs to be avoided with this disease. Some children have a latex allergy, so keep that in mind too.
Go to this website and print the free handouts to let your neighborhood in on what you are doing so others may join you. Yard signs, mini posters, stickers and coloring sheets are also available to print from the website. Use the hashtag #TealPumpkinProject to help spread the word on social media.
Add your home to the Teal Pumpkin Project map so families can map out their Halloween night with which homes in the area are participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project.
More Parent Pro-Tips
– Keep non-food treats in a separate bowl and say to the trick-or-treaters, “You Pick: Candy or Prize?”
– Use the Teal Pumpkin Halloween buckets for decoration, use to separate your non-food treats from the toys or your child can go trick or treating with it to signal your child needs a non-food treat.
– Place yard signs or a sign on the door explaining what the teal colored pumpkin means. All children can get a toy, no need to limit to just children with allergies.
The Teal Pumpkin project is all about inclusion, awareness, and fun! Don’t get too stressed about what not to have – think of the fun things to add to your night: glow sticks and stickers are a hit with most kids!
You Might Also Like…
- Huntsville’s Fall Activity Guide
- Trick-or-Treating Events in Huntsville
- Halloween Parties & Spooky Fun Events
Rachel Brown is a foodie by heart and Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator by trade. A mother of two young children, she is always searching for fun and exciting things to eat and create as a family. Rachel moved here from Nashville, TN in 2016 and is enjoying exploring Huntsville and all the exciting things happening here. You can follow her exciting Huntsville foodie finds on her Instagram @RocketCityDietitian or on FaceBook as Rocket City Dietitian.