Growing up, none of my family members or friends had food allergies that I can remember. My memories of trick-or-treating are filled with excitement, fun costumes, and excessive amounts of candy. Honestly, thoughts of food allergies rarely crossed my mind as a child. Over the years, food allergies have been on the rise. Today, 1 in 13 children has a food allergy.
When Halloween is too scary…
In the past, numerous parents have reported having to “cancel” Halloween for their children with food allergies. For some, Halloween equaled a life or death situation. Seriously. If families still chose to celebrate Halloween, parents were nervous wrecks as they watched their children like hawks to ensure their hands didn’t end up on the wrong treat.
Until 2014, food allergies and Halloween did not mix.
Last year, the Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) organization launched a national campaign called The Teal Pumpkin Project™ to raise awareness of food allergies and promote inclusion of all trick-or-treaters throughout the Halloween season. In the first year of this campaign, individuals in 50 states and 7 countries took the pledge to support the Teal Pumpkin Project. FARE predicts the campaign will grow to include over 100,000 households in 2015.
Our household took the pledge.
Our household couldn’t NOT take the pledge! If you have fun memories of Halloween like I did, wouldn’t you hate to see a child miss out on the experience of dressing up or be excluded from trick-or-treating? If you are the family member or friend of a little one, can you imagine not walking the neighborhood with them or having them stop by your house as they trick-or-treat? I know our family, friends, and neighbors loved seeing my brother and me all dressed up in our Halloween costumes…
As the mother of a little boy with severe allergies to peanuts, almonds, and eggs, I am beyond grateful for the widespread adoption of The Teal Pumpkin Project in such a short period of time. I now understand from a personal AND professional standpoint the concerns and considerations of individuals and families with food allergies.
Perhaps you are fortunate enough to be allergy-free in your home…
Use the Teal Pumpkin Project as an opportunity to educate your children and teach them to be sensitive, understanding, and empathetic toward those who have allergies. Help them understand the importance of taking allergies seriously.
How does my family participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project?
1. Go online and pledge to participate in FARE’s Teal Pumpkin Project™!
Rainy days mean pumpkin shopping at Sprouts…in his “Hallow-weiner dog” shirt!
2. Grab a pumpkin, teal-colored paint, and a paintbrush.
Get the whole family involved! While you’re painting your pumpkins, talk about why being respectful and inclusive of children with food allergies is so important.
3. Place your pumpkin outside your front door to signify your participation in the Teal Pumpkin Project.
The Teal Pumpkin Project is all about inclusion, so your household may decide to print the free downloadable sign that states “We have candy and non-food treats” (in separate buckets, of course).
5. Go shopping for your non-food treats.
We found ours at Target…they had a great selection! Concerned non-food Halloween treats may get too expensive? Consider this: a large bag of assorted candy costs $9.00-$19.00! The most expensive non-food treat I purchased (the 12 puzzle value pack) was $10.00…everything else was $1.00-$3.00.
Here are more examples of non-food treats: finger puppets, stencils, spider rings, playing cards, whistles, vampire fangs, notepads, crazy straws, comic books, kazoos, pinwheels…what am I missing?
6. Finally, don’t forget to SHARE information about and encourage friends to get involved in The Teal Pumpkin Project by using #tealpumpkinproject on social media.
Have a safe and Happy Halloween!
If you enjoyed this post, you may also like these posts:
- Top 5 Tips to Help Your Kids Manage Halloween Treats
- Easy to Make, Exciting to Eat School Lunches
- Tricks to Treating Yourself on Halloween