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Teal Pumpkin Project: Protecting Those with Food Allergies

teal pumpkin project - protecting those with food allergies - columbia sc moms blog

Halloween. Candy. Costumes. Candy. Jack-o-Lanterns. Candy. Kids. Candy. Trick or Treating. Candy.

Every year it comes like clockwork: October 31. Halloween. And if you’re like me, there’s probably plenty of opportunities in October to attend multiple Halloween and Fall Festival events where you get to dress up your kids in their costume of choice and go around to get candy. Maybe the occasional temporary tattoo or stickers or toy.

Now take a second to imagine you or your child going around house-to-house, trunk-to-trunk, store-to-store and scoring a bucket full of candy. Sweet, cavity causing candy.

Close your eyes and picture getting that bucket home, dumping it out to inventory it all, checking to see if you got “the good” stuff this year.

Now imagine that you have a peanut allergy or a milk allergy or a red dye allergy. Really just any food allergy at all.

Now inventory your stash. Take out all the unsafe items. What’s left? Anything? How are you feeling? Afterall, you’re just a kid trying to fit in with your friends who are trick-or-treating (or the parent of a the kid). Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to know the safe houses to go to?

For my family, and so many others out there, Halloween is a fun time, but it can also be a scary time. I’m not talking the scary that was around when I was a kid where you would hear stories on TV of people slipping razors into candy or some other item that would cause harm. I’m talking scary with the candy untouched, wrapped perfectly in its obviously untampered with wrapper. I’m talking food allergies that can cause a child to go from fine one second to anaphylactic shock the next.

That scenario I asked you to imagine is my life. It is my son’s life. It is my daughter’s life.

For us, we often play the “trade game” when we return from trick-or-treating. We go through all the candy and make safe and unsafe piles, then I replace the unsafe candy with candy I bought on my own. For my son we work out some other system since as of last year he can no longer have food due to being allergic to almost all foods.

Sounds reasonable right? I think so, but I also think that there are ways that we as a community can help make Halloween even more enjoyable for kids like my own children.

In 2014, the Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) organization kicked off the first ever Teal Pumpkin Project national campaign. Around 100,000 households signed the pledge last year and the goal this year is to reach even more households.

In the Teal Pumpkin Project, you sign a pledge stating you will show extra kindness to those around you and provide non-food treats for your trick-or-treaters. The telling sign that you are participating is the teal pumpkin you display on your porch, steps, near your door, or wherever you are handing out treats.

Ideas for Non-Food Treats:

  • glow sticks
  • temporary tattoos
  • stickers
  • bracelets
  • bookmarks
  • bubbles
  • pens

* For additional ideas, check out our post on 10 Alternative Treats for Halloween and the Food Allergy Research & Education’s Ideas for Non-Food Treats.

Creative Ways to Decorate Your Teal Pumpkin:

What are some ideas you have for non-food treats? How can others benefit from non-food items on Halloween?

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