This year I decided to be a part of The Teal Pumpkin Project. The Food Allergy Research Project, or FARE, estimates that 1 in 13 children have food allergies, which means they go trick-or-treating, and almost every house is offering candy, and the kids get home and can’t enjoy their bounty.
That royally stinks.
A Tennessean mom named Becky Basalone once thought that really stunk, too. So, what if Halloween could be made a little more fun for kids with food allergies?
Eventually her idea took root like a pumpkin vine and grew to become the Teal Pumpkin Project, a nationwide effort to encourage folks to offer up some non-candy or food treats on halloween night. Participating is easy: Place a teal-colored pumpkin or a sign on your door(or in the yard) and offer trick-or-treaters stickers, glow sticks, rings, pencils and pens, small toys, etc., as well as candy for the kids who can have it if desired.
First promoting the idea nationwide in 2014, Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), a non-profit advocacy group, runs a very informative website that includes an interactive map showing teal pumpkin house locations.
FARE even has its own licensed Teal Pumpkin Project products such as foam pumpkins and painting kits at partner retailers— CVS, Michael’s, Party City and Oriental Trading Company. For its research, education and advocacy programs, FARE receives a portion of the sales.
Want to participate? Here’s how:
• Paint or buy a teal pumpkin and put it where trick-or-treaters can see it. Or just put out a sign (free downloadable versions are at FARE’s website).
• Get some non-food treats. Suggestions from FARE include: glow sticks, bracelets and necklaces; whistles, kazoos and noisemakers; bubbles; vampire fangs; playing cards and bookmarks.
• If you choose to give out candy, too, put it in a separate bowl. Offer both options to all trick-or-treaters — and do not be surprised if children with no food restrictions take some of the non-food items, previous participants say.