If you have a child with a food allergy, you know how stressful and scary it can be for them to participate in food-related events at school or during holidays.
Halloween, in particular, is a time when kids are vulnerable to accidentally eating a piece of candy with a dangerous allergen. In fact, according to Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), many miniature versions of candy items contain different ingredients than their full-sized equivalents, and some may not even have labels, making it hard to keep children safe from food allergies on Halloween. That’s why FARE is once again promoting the Teal Pumpkin Project* to protect children with food allergies, intolerances, celiac disease and more. Here’s how to participate:
- Place a teal pumpkin in front of your house to indicate you have non-food treats such as toys, glow sticks, stickers or school supplies. Teal is the official color for food allergy awareness and has been used to recognize the condition for the past 20 years, according to FARE.
- Hang a free printable sign or premium poster on your door to explain the meaning behind the teal pumpkin. (You can download signs and other materials here.)
- Feel free to hand out candy, too—just be sure to keep it in a separate bowl from the non-candy treats so that children with allergies will not be exposed. Also ask trick-or-treaters if they have food allergies before distributing candy or non-candy items.
- Be aware of non-food items that can still contain allergens. These include moldable clay (some brands contain wheat) and latex items, for example.
- Spread awareness about the Teal Pumpkin Project by handing out FARE’s fliers or using the hashtag #tealpumpkinproject on social media.
- Host a teal pumpkin-painting event at your house or community center.
The Teal Pumpkin Project was started by the Food Allergy Community of East Tennessee (FACET) and launched as a national campaign by FARE in 2014. According to the organization, last year households from all 50 states and 14 countries took part in the project.
At Integrative Nutrition, we love the Teal Pumpkin Project because it not only keeps kids safe from food allergies, but it also reduces the amount of sugar consumed this Halloween. (Read here for other ways to eat less sugar.) It’s also a great way to spread awareness, education, and start conversations with those in your community about food allergens and keeping kids safe.
Here’s to a happy, healthy and safe Halloween!
Do you have a child with a food allergy? Share your story with us here.
*The TEAL PUMPKIN PROJECT and the Teal Pumpkin Image are trademarks of Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE).