Over the last couple of years, I’ve noticed a few of these blue pumpkins sitting around on different people’s porches. I thought they were cute decoration and a trend catching on, then I learned more. These aren’t just blue pumpkins, they are teal pumpkins and they represent something extremely important.
Teal pumpkins are part of the Teal Pumpkin Project. This is a movement set into motion by FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education). The idea of the project is to make Halloween safer and happier for all kids, including those with food allergies. People who pledge to put a teal pumpkin out or display a sign in their window are letting parents who have kids with food allergies know that they offer non-food treats for the kids, so they get to keep whatever they are given and don’t have to worry about it harming them in any way.
I always knew food allergies were something to pay attention to, but until my daughter developed one, I had no idea how hard it was. My daughter has an allergy to Red Dye 40. She breaks out in hives with it. This has absolutely changed the products we buy around our house, and sometimes we still pick up things with they dye in it, but then get her something similar that is dye free.
On Halloween, much to her dismay, we have to go through her bucket and remove at least half of the candy. Usually it gets swapped out for candy from our own stash or even her sister will sometimes trade her, but I totally get how disappointed she is to watch all this candy she had so much fun collecting turn into a big ordeal at home just to figure out what she can have. Many times the ingredients aren’t marked, so that means if it’s not something we can look up online, it is removed from her stash.
Now I think of all the pain we go through just to prevent hives and compare that to the struggle a child with dairy allergies, or peanut allergies, or gluten allergies goes through. These ingredients are in everything! It takes the fun out of Halloween pretty quick if you can’t enjoy what was given to you. I’ve even heard some parents who have kids with food allergies say they aren’t even taking their kids out for Trick or Treating because it’s so hard to deal with all of the allergens and they can’t risk it.
It’s for these reasons we’ll be participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project. We will have both candy treats and non-food treats available for the kids coming to our door. We want to make sure Halloween is fun for as many kids as possible and if we can make it easier for kids with food allergies then we’re absolutely going to do so!
If you’d like to participate it’s easy. Just grab a pumpkin, paint it teal, then go out and pick up some non-food items. Stickers, glow sticks, pencils, rings or all kinds of other ideas. FARE has a lot of ideas, just stop by to see what non-food treats they suggest.
To make it even easier for families to identify you as a Teal Pumpkin House, or to verify that your pumpkin isn’t just to look pretty, put up a sign on your door. FARE has a variety of door signs you can print off free to announce your support to food allergy families.
I hope you’ll join me in the Teal Pumpkin Project! And even if you can’t do it, at least now you’ll know what all those teal pumpkins are that are popping up around the nation.
What non-food treat would you most like to see handed out during Halloween? What is your favorite candy treat that is handed out? Tell me your favorites in the comments below.