My family is really into Halloween, I look forward to this holiday all year long. I love Halloween because everyone can participate! It’s a fun evening where kids (and adults) of all ages can dress up, act silly and just have a great time.
Last year I took my daughter trick or treating for the first time, she had a ball collecting handfuls of candy. I loved to pause at every house to admire their unique jack-o-lanterns. One house had a cluster of uncarved pumpkins, all painted teal. I assumed this was a stylistic statement and complemented the homeowner on her beautiful display. She explained that her children had serious food allergies and this year she was participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project, meaning her house was giving out small toys instead of candy.
I’m embarrassed to say that at that moment I realized my beloved holiday wasn’t as inclusive as I had originally thought. For kids with serious food allergies, trick or treating may not be a carefree event. After thinking about it, I decided I wanted to participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project this year.
What Is the Teal Pumpkin Project?
Founded in 2014, the Teal Pumpkin Project raises awareness for food allergies. According to foodallergy.org, approximately 1 in every 13 children have a food allergy of some kind. Families who decide to participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project place a teal pumpkin on their porch and hand out allergy-free treats instead of candy. Did you know that teal is the official color of food allergy awareness? I had no idea!
When I brought up the idea to my family, I expected some resistance. Halloween and candy really do go hand in hand, however my family really surprised me! My daughter attends a peanut-free school so she was really excited to hand out treats that everyone could enjoy. We got right to work painting one of our pumpkins a lovely shade of teal.
Why Am I Participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project?
I love Halloween and want it to be a fully inclusive holiday for all kids. I have had many students through the years who have had very serious food allergies. I remember the look of disappointment on their faces anytime another student brought in a treat to share that wasn’t allergy friendly. I want every child who visits my house this year to be able to enjoy the treat that I give out.
Isn’t it Expensive to Give Out Toys Instead of Candy?
No, it really isn’t. It seems like it would be an expensive endeavor, but it’s really very simple and cost effective- it’s no more expensive then the giant bags of candy I used to purchase. I’m thinking of ordering some fun items from Amazon, most of the items I found are under $10 and free with prime shipping. I’m considering glow stick bracelets, stickers or self-inking stamps this year.
I haven’t quite decided what to give out this year, but I think kids would love any of these options!
I’m really excited to participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project this year! Even though my kids don’t have any food allergies, I am really excited to give out treats that every kid can enjoy. Don’t tell my family, but I’m also glad that we won’t have a giant bag of candy in the house this year since I have no self-control when fun size candies are around!
Are you planning on participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project? I will definitely be looking out for these beautiful pumpkins in my neighborhood this Halloween!