The Teal Pumpkin Project promotes awareness, safety, and inclusion for kids with food allergies by providing non-food treats during trick-or-treating. This movement, which started in Tennessee by a food allergy mom, Becky Basalone, and her local allergy support group, has spread worldwide by Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE). The goal is to make Halloween trick-or-treating safe and inclusive for all children.
A Halloween teal pumpkin means non-food treats are available for trick-or-treaters. Teal is the color of allergy awareness, and offering non-food items makes trick-or-treating inclusive for those who cannot eat candy, including the millions of children living with food allergies.
Below I’ll share the biggest mistake many people unknowingly make when putting out a teal pumpkin, how to participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project the right way, and a free printable teal pumpkin sign for your front door or window.
BIG TEAL PUMPKIN PROJECT MYTH
“If I hand out nut-free candy or snacks, then I’m offering a safe alternative.”
Some people mistakenly believe they are safely participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project as long as they offer a treat that does not contain nuts. However, even snacks without peanuts or tree nuts as an ingredient, like nut-free popcorn, are unsafe for many kids with food allergies to eat.
IMPORTANT TEAL PUMPKIN PROJECT TRUTH
The truth is people can be allergic to any ingredient, such as soy, milk, cherry flavoring, or food dye. The Teal Pumpkin Project aims to include all 5.6 million children managing a food allergy (source), not just those allergic to nuts.
Some people cannot even eat food produced on the same equipment as their allergen without experiencing a reaction, and many miniature candy items do not have labels, making it impossible for parents or children with food allergies to verify if it’s safe.
So while it’s thoughtful to hand out suckers or crackers instead of a Snickers bar, the Teal Pumpkin Project includes kids with any food allergy by offering an item that is NOT FOOD as an alternative to candy.
WHO BENEFITS FROM NON-FOOD TREATS?
There’s a growing body of children who can enjoy Halloween tradition of trick-or-treating when non-food gifts are offered, including those with:
- Food allergies
- Food intolerances and sensitivities
- Celiac disease
- Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE)
- Food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES)
- Children with feeding tubes
- Children on any special diet
Because of its focus on food, Trick-or-Treating used to be avoided completely or a scary event for families living with these food-related health conditions. Now, because of the Teal Pumpkin movement, millions of children and families can safely enjoy the Halloween tradition.
WHERE CAN I GET A TEAL PUMPKIN?
You can make a teal pumpkin yourself by painting any pumpkin with teal paint or teal spray paint (check price of teal spray paint on Amazon).
Or if you’d like to buy a teal pumpkin that you can reuse every year, there are artificial teal pumpkins, such as this foam teal pumpkin on Amazon.
WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE TIME TO PAINT A TEAL PUMPKIN?
Use a sign instead! There are three easy options for you to notify trick-or-treaters that you have non-food treats available.
1. PRINT A FREE TEAL PUMPKIN SIGN
You can print a printable teal pumpkin sign to hang on your front door. These work great for doors, windows, and even cars during trunk or treat events. Businesses and families may use as many of these signs as you’d like, for free!
2. USE A TEAL PUMPKIN YARD SIGN
There are also a few different Teal Pumpkin Lawn Signs you can stick in your yard to promote awareness of your allergy-friendly Halloween treats.
3. USE A TEAL PUMPKIN PROJECT GARDEN FLAG
Amazon has this FARE-official Teal Pumpkin Project garden flag with excellent reviews. It’s double-sided, durable for both inside and outside use, and another easy way to promote awareness and inclusion for the Teal Pumpkin Project.
CAN I HAND OUT CANDY TOO?
YES! The goal of the Teal Pumpkin Project is to offer a safe alternative so children with food allergies and other medical conditions related to food can participate; the goal is not to exclude candy from Halloween.
From my own food allergy parent’s experience, the best option is to have one bowl for food treats and a separate bucket for non-food “tricks” so the two are not mixed. 😉
WHAT ARE GOOD NON-FOOD TREATS TO HAND OUT?
Kids love little trinkets! Once you participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project, you’ll find some kids who don’t even have food allergies prefer a “trick” over a “treat.”
Some of the kids’ favorites are:
- Stress Balls (this pack of 24 has funny faces)
- Flarp (kids think it’s hilarious. Here’s a mini 24 pack)
- Bouncy Balls (like these glow in the dark Halloween balls)
- Play-Doh (you can buy a 50 pack of mini Play-Doh on Amazon)
- Glow Sticks (inexpensive idea if you expect lots of visitors)
- Glow Rings (like these Halloween rings with flashing LED lights)
- Pencils or Pens (how fun are these bone pens?)
- Mini Coloring Books (like this Halloween pack of 24)
- Tattoos (glow in the dark tattoos for a large crowd)
- Bubbles (like these mini bubble wands)
- Punching Balloons (like this pack of 36 Halloween balloons)
- Stretchy Skeletons (can be both decoration and toy)
- “LEGO” Kits (cute LEGO knock-off pumpkin and ghost sets)
ARE THERE MORE WAYS TO SPREAD AWARENESS ABOUT MY TEAL PUMPKIN?
Yes! In addition to your own teal pumpkins and signs, you can do these things too to spread awareness and opportunities for food allergy kids:
- Add your house to the FARE Teal Pumpkin Map over here (It can be anonymous and it is easier for food allergy families to find.)
- Share with friends, neighbors, co-workers on social media (add hashtags #foodallergyparents and #tealpumpkinproject so we can connect and spread the news even farther together!
SAVE IT TO PINTEREST
There are millions of users on Pinterest and many will be searching for information about Teal Pumpkin Project. If you have a Pinterest account, take a second to save this to help spread awareness about the REAL meaning of teal pumpkins and how our neighbors can create safe and fun trick-or-treating for our kids with food allergies.
As a mom of a child with severe food allergies, I promise you these teal pumpkins with non-food items means the world to these kids.
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