If you’re welcoming trick-or-treaters this year, there’s a way you can make Halloween brighter for youngsters with food allergies and other medically restricted diets. With some non-food trinkets, a clean bowl, a spare pumpkin, some teal paint, or just a free downloadable poster, you can be part of a worldwide campaign of caring and inclusion.
One in 13 children in the U.S. has a potentially life-threatening food allergy. Many favorite Halloween candies contain common food allergens such as; peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, wheat, soy, and sesame. In addition, mini-sized seasonal candies often lack individual ingredient labels and can have unique formulations, making them even more dangerous for kids with food allergies.
That’s where the Teal Pumpkin Project comes in. Since 2014, FARE, the leading non-profit dedicated to Food Allergy Research & Education, has promoted the Teal Pumpkin Project to make Halloween safer and more inclusive. You’ll find teal pumpkins in households across all 50 U.S. states and dozens of countries on nearly every continent (sorry, Antarctica!).
You can take three easy steps to participate this year:
- Place a teal pumpkin on your doorstep or post a teal pumpkin poster on your door.
- Offer non-food treats in their own bowl, separate from any candy.
- Add your address to FARE’s Teal Pumpkin Project map at tealpumpkinproject.org to let food allergy families in your area know that their children can find safe, non-food treats at your house.
Remember, you don’t have to give up Halloween candy to participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project! Just make sure that your candy and non-food trinkets are in separate bowls to keep allergens in the candy apart from the allergy-safe toys.
Not sure what non-food treats to share? Dollar stores, party supply shops, and online vendors carry a trove of Halloween treasures this time of year:
- Glow sticks, bracelets, or necklaces
- Pencils, pens, crayons, or markers
- Halloween erasers or pencil toppers
- Mini Slinkies
- Whistles, kazoos, or noisemakers
- Latex-free bouncy balls
- Finger puppets or novelty toys
- Spider rings
- Vampire fangs
- Mini notepads
- Playing cards
One item you won’t find on this list is balloons. The latex from which most balloons are made can be a powerful allergen for some people. Also not listed here is play dough, which often contains wheat.
Hopefully, with these ideas, you can make trick-or-treating safer and more inclusive for the one in thirteen children living with food allergies and many others impacted by intolerances and other conditions. To learn more about the Teal Pumpkin Project and help spread safe Halloween fun for everyone, visit tealpumpkinproject.org.