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The Teal Pumpkin Project

An allergy safe way to trick or treat.

On Halloween, as the sun sets, many of the houses are adorned with spider webs, a tombstone in the yard, or perhaps a cauldron and a skeleton or two. The excitement mounts as children slip into their costumes and prepare for the custom of going door to door with the hopes of returning home triumphant with more candy than they can (or should) eat in a single night.

This is usually how the story goes, but for some parents and their children, the candy usually on offer provide more real frights than fun. Many schools around the country have seen a rise in 'nut-free' classrooms. However, allergies can extend to dairy, gluten, soy, and more. How is a parent of a child with allergies to navigate dearly loved traditions without running into issues? What's more, is how does a child with allergies not feel completely left out of activities like trick or treating with their friends?

Diva Galan, mom of two allergy affected children, has had to face exactly that. Her solution? The Teal Pumpkin Project. Amidst all the black, orange, and white that pervades the Halloween decor, the teal pumpkin sticks out, and for good reason. The distinctive teal pumpkin signals to the 1 in 13 allergy affected children that they will find the treats they can truly enjoy. In this article we hope to encourage as many homes as possible to provide not only the usual bags of candy but also some allergy safe options and even non food trinkets too.

For parents who hope to have an allergy free Halloween, we strive to give you the knowledge and know how to participate and to discover the resources available to you and your little monster.

What is the Teal Pumpkin Project?

Have a kid with allergies, or know someone who does? Often kids with these restrictions find they can't always participate in enjoying some of the regular 'kid' stuff, but Halloween doesn't have to be one of them. The Teal Pumpkin Project is promoted by the Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) organization. By placing a teal colored pumpkin or sign beside your front door or porch you are letting kids and their parents know you have allergy safe options and that they can safely trick or treat.

Treats without the Tricks

Parents should always read the ingredient labels of all the candies their little one collects. FARE recommends that children should not eat any candies until you have checked the ingredients first. If there are specific candies you know to be safe for your child, you might try giving these candies ahead of time to neighbors and request they hand those to your child when they come knocking. Otherwise, if you are the one handing out allergy safe alternatives, consider inexpensive stickers, glow sticks, spider rings, Halloween erasers or pencils, bookmarks, and other small games or toys. 

Everything Teal

Signage that is prominent and bright helps to identify your house to those with allergies. The FARE website has plenty of printable signs and flyers to use. You can also buy a plastic or ceramic  decorative pumpkin and paint it teal. If you want to spread the word in your neighborhood you could host a teal pumpkin painting party before Halloween and help to educate those on your street. Otherwise a number of online and brick and mortar shops sell teal pumpkins too. To find out where participating teal pumpkins are just go to FARE's Teal Pumpkin Project Map, you can see where to go or even add your house to the map.

Resources and More

The possibilities are endless and so is the fun to be had on the spookiest night of the year. FARE also has allergy safe recipes to make at home to satisfy that sweet tooth, as well as plenty of suggestions on how to make Halloween safe and fun for all. You might consider throwing a Halloween party with safe treats and foregoing the usual trick or treating one year. Another possibility is having a fun Halloween movie night projected onto a white sheet out front for everyone to enjoy and still feel part of the neighborhood spirit. The Teal Pumpkin Project is growing every year and you can help spread the word by sharing printable flyers with your local businesses, schools, and community centers. 

For more ideas and recipes you can also check out Diva Galan's Instagram at foodallergydiva.

  • Diva Galan