Teal-colored pumpkins are appearing on more porches as part of a national effort to make the holiday safe for children with food allergies.
The pumpkin is a sign that residents are giving out non-food or allergen-free treats to trick-or-treaters. The effort has grown in popularity since it started several years ago. Children with medical conditions that limit food options are also benefited.
What Is the Teal Pumpkin Project?
The Teal Pumpkin Project is a national effort to make Halloween safer for kids with food allergies and other medical conditions.
The project was first launched in 2012 by a local food allergy group in Tennessee before FARE expanded it to all 50 states.
Why Is This Important?
Many of the popular Halloween candies contain nuts, milk, egg, soy or wheat, which are among the most common food allergies. Unlike food intolerances, food allergies can cause potentially life-threatening reactions.
One in 13 children in the U.S. has a potentially life-threatening food allergy, according to research conducted by the Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) group.
"The number of children with food allergies has risen dramatically over the past 20 years, and the Teal Pumpkin Project brings the community together to ensure a safe and inclusive Halloween for all trick-or-treaters," FARE President & CEO Lisa Gable, said in a statement.
How Can Anyone Participate?
Place a teal-colored pumpkin outside on your porch or doorstep to signify that you have non-food or allergen-free treats in addition to or in place of traditional candy.
If you're offering both, make sure to place the candy in a separate container.
If your child has food allergies, get them a teal-colored treat bucket.
What's Different This Year?
FARE has partnered with Allergy Insider to bring families a new and improved neighborhood map of participating locations.
They're also providing a free downloadable Teal Pumpkin Project yard sign to those who want to participate.
What Are Some Ideas for Non-Food Treats?
Head to your local Dollar Tree, dollar section at Target, party supply store or anywhere that sells low-cost toys and trinkets. For an extra festive touch, choose items that fit the Halloween theme or colors.
Here's a list of ideas:
- Glow sticks, bracelets, or necklaces
- Pencils, pens, crayons or markers
- Fun erasers or pencil toppers
- Mini Slinkies
- Whistles, kazoos, or noisemakers
- Bouncy balls
- Finger puppets
- Plastic spider rings
- Vampire fangs
- Monster fingers
- Mini notepads
- Playing cards
- Mini Play-doh
- Mardi-gras beads
- Finger skateboard
- Slime or silly putty
- Cat ears
- Novelty glasses