As Halloween gets closer, you’re sure to see plenty of orange pumpkins on stoops and porches. But what about teal pumpkins? Find out why these non-traditional pumpkins are much more than decor and what important purpose they serve.
The Teal Pumpkin Project
The Teal Pumpkin Project is an effort by the Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) organization to raise awareness of food allergies and promote inclusion of all trick-or-treaters during the Halloween season. This project originated as a local activity by the Food Allergy Community of East Tennessee and has since become a worldwide event. According to FARE, teal is the color for food allergy awareness and has been used to raise awareness about food-related medical conditions for 20 years. Those who participate in the project place a teal painted pumpkin outside their door and provide non-food treats to trick-or-treaters on Halloween.
Food allergies are increasing
The incidence of food allergies is on the rise. According to FARE, one in 13 children has a food allergy. Even tiny amounts of allergens can cause serious, if not life-threatening, reactions in those affected by food allergies. (Looking for kid-friendly allergy-free treats? Try one of these.) Traditional Halloween candy and chocolate treats are rife with common food allergens, including ingredients derived from wheat, eggs, soy, nuts and milk. Participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project allows children who are affected by food allergies to still participate in Halloween trick-or-treating activities and not feel left out from the festivities.
How to participate
Placing a teal pumpkin on your doorstep or at the front of your home is the first step. You can add your location to the Teal Pumpkin Project map to let trick-or-treaters know your stop is food-allergen safe. Recommended non-food treats include small containers of bubbles, spider rings, glow sticks, pencils, stickers or finger puppets. And if you do participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project, that doesn’t mean you can’t also provide traditional treats as well. If you do provide both non-food and candy treats, FARE recommends asking trick-or-treaters if they have a food allergy or just give each child the option to choose which kind of treat he or she would like.