Halloween is right around the corner, and we’re so excited, it’s positively spooky! Halloween is a favorite holiday around here. What’s not to like? It’s a holiday about dressing up in fun costumes and eating candy, with no obligation to host an elaborate meal or spend a small fortune on gifts. Win-win!
For a growing number of kiddos, though, there’s something besides plastic skeletons and animatronic ghouls to be afraid of on Halloween. Food allergies are on the rise, and trick-or-treating can be a truly frightening experience for families who are struggling to keep their kids safe while still allowing them to be kids and enjoy the same activities as their friends. The Teal Pumpkin Project launched in 2012, the brainchild of an allergy mom who wanted to create a signal that safe goodies were available for trick-or-treaters with food allergies and intolerances.
If you want to participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project, it’s super simple! You can paint any old grocery store pumpkin teal, or pick up a fake one up at Target in the dollar spot if you’re not feeling a DIY project. (We were there this week and there was more than one size of teal pumpkin available on the cheap.) Teal Pumpkins have become enough of A Thing that you’ll be able to find one at most craft stores or big-box retailers. The people who need to look for them are plenty familiar with the concept and know what the teal pumpkin signifies, but if you want to explain, there are a ton of free printable flyers and other resources here courtesy of FoodAllergy.com. Stick the teal pumpkin on your porch or in another highly visible location, and enjoy making kids who have food limitations very, very happy.
Stumped for what goodies to stock for your Teal Pumpkin visitors? Non-food items are a safe bet, and there are loads of inexpensive, kid-pleasing trinkets that will be a big hit. Stickers, glow sticks and bracelets, mini containers of bubbles, colorful erasers, bouncy balls, and plastic vampire fangs are a few popular, easy-to-find ideas.
If you want to choose an allergen-friendly candy, there are plenty of options to choose from that will be safe for just about everybody. The most common allergens are dairy, soy, nuts, eggs, peanuts, and wheat, so you’ll want to choose a candy free of all of those to be as inclusive as possible. Starbursts, Swedish fish, Sour Patch Kids, Skittles, Nerds, Smarties, Enjoy Life chocolate bars, Dum Dums, and most brands of jelly beans and gummy candy are all free of the Top 8 allergens.
However you choose to participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project, you rock for making Halloween safe and fun for ALL the kids in your neighborhood. Being (or raising) a kid with serious food allergies is really tough, and we think it’s awesome that so many people are going out of their way to make sure allergy kiddos get to be part of the fun on Halloween. Thanks for helping everyone have a safe and spooktacular Halloween!