If you just mention the word “Halloween,” kid’s faces light up with excitement and eagerness about getting their favorite candies and dressing up as a beloved princess or superhero. However, for kids who have food allergies, Halloween can seem like a nightmare, especially since they can’t eat most of the candy they got from trick-or-treating.
According to FoodAllergy.org, an estimated 1 in 13 children under the age of 18 in the U.S. have a food allergy, which equates to two in every classroom.
For these kids and their parents, having to sift through all the candy and worry about having a life-threatening reaction from an allergen in the candy can take all the fun out of Halloween. Not only do the children feel left out while watching their friends gorge on all the delicious candy, but they also will have wasted hours trick-or-treating and collecting candy, only to have to throw it all away at the end of the night.
To help out, all you need is an extra pumpkin, a can of teal paint, and the willingness to spread awareness for the Teal Pumpkin Project.
You might be wondering how putting out a teal pumpkin will do anything to help children with food allergies have a better Halloween, but when you put the teal pumpkin on your porch, it signals to children that your house is safe to go to. It tells them that you will hand out non-food items, so they won’t have to worry about allergens in the candy.
But, what else can you hand out on Halloween? Well, you can go to pretty much any dollar store, Walgreens, or Target and pick up some activity books, colors, stickers, or small toys for children to play with. Just because it might stray from tradition to hand out something other than candy, does not mean kids won’t still enjoy what you have to offer.
Even if you can only hand out one item, this will ensure that they have something to do on Halloween while their friends eat piles of candy, which will help them feel included. Best of all, they won’t have to worry about having an allergy attack, all because you left a teal pumpkin on your porch and gave them a safe non-food treat on Halloween!
According to FoodAllergy.org, households from 50 states and 7 countries participated in the Teal Pumpkin Project in 2013. If you’d like to join 100,000 households across the world in showing your support and participation in the Teal Pumpkin Project, go here to take the pledge and get more information on how you can help!
Halloween should be a fun holiday for all children, regardless of if they have a food allergy or not. Luckily, you can do your part to make all children feel included, so simply buy an extra pumpkin, paint it teal, and leave a sign next to the pumpkin letting them know your house is safe!
If you do participate this year, make sure to use the hashtags #KeepItTeal and #TealPumpkinProject in order to keep spreading awareness for this worldwide movement!