Halloween 2017: Teal Mo Pumpkin!

Teal Mo

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.


The Creepy Cooler!

Planning sketch:


Finished product. I decided to leave off the feet for now:


Although I’m planning on carrying drinks and snacks in this guy, I won’t be going all -out with ice or anything. He’ll also simply be a fun backpack, with or without drinks. He is built on a backpack-style cooler, with the fur and features glued and sewn on.

Scarecrow Competition!

I’m entering a contest at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, an event known as Scarecrows in the Garden. My entry will be four Beatles scarecrows in black suits..still deciding on a name for the “theme”, but the Boys are beginning to shape up nicely:


Still need white shirts and ties, some stuffing, and I need to cover their milk jug heads–that wil be the fun/challenging part. But I have a decent amount of time. Wish me luck!

Fanged Button Bags!

I had intended to make some little bags for us to take to Dragon Con, and while I’m walking around with my puppets, if someone wants a photo taken with me, I was planning to give them a freebie Puppatoons button. I wanted something neat to carry said buttons in, so this idea of fuzzy monster bags has been on the list for a couple of months.

I wanted to have good,solid bags,with linings, underneath the fur, so my husband had the brilliant idea to recycle gently-used manufactured bags. On a recent trip to Goodwill, we found two small purse-like bags that were practically new. I took them home, washed them in the washing machine, and they sat for a while. At last, today, I pulled them out of the project pile and started  having fun.

This was the result:


This was the first. It was made on top of a little girl’s tiny messenger bag from The Limited Too store.


The second one is probably more appropriate for Steve to carry– a bit less purse-like. It seemed to be some sort of camera bag. I’m tempted to give it legs. 🙂

Plastic Canvas Puppets!


This was something I had wondered about anyway, utilizing plastic canvas somehow in puppet making, and lo and behold, I found a book on ebay on the exact subject.


The designs are well-done and obviously meticulously constructed.I have a few issues with the anatomy–the wide, gaping mouth on the giraffe and zebra,for instance—but I’m sure the children don’t care. These do look like fun puppets to play with.

I especially like the toucan; that’s a great example of getting a bird with a hard, rigid beak. I would just cover the rest of it in plush.

Anyway, it was a good buy and I’m glad to have it–quite interesting.

That’s Our Boy!


Our good friend Zach was at our house recently for Steve’s birthday party. He showed me this lovely work of art– a home-printed Puppatoons shirt, featuring one of my “Happy Dragon” designs.  I had showed him a sample of a commission I was making for him,and he liked it so much he made a shirt from it (had I known, I would have sent him a much better file, without a plastic sleeve glare on it!)I was thrilled and flattered,and on top of that, once he got home, he made this adorable blog entry:

He wants to be a Vitale!

So Zach,we will make you our honorary son. I guess now I have to fix up a room for you and paint little hockey-playing dragons on the wall. And if you have Steph over, you’ll be chaperoned! 🙂


He even put Mo on the back. Truly Zach should be in charge of our marketing someday.