One of my favorite food allergy initiatives is Food Allergy Research & Education’s Teal Pumpkin Project. I am 100% in love with this project! It takes the opportunity to educate people about food allergies and makes Halloween inclusive for allergy kids.
Back in the 90s when I was a young trick-or-treater, we would have to throw away more than half of my candy due to allergens.
Making Halloween Inclusive with the Teal Pumpkin Project
Halloween is a time when allergy kids have to exercise serious self-control. I was under strict instruction not to snack on anything until we got home and sorted all the Halloween candy. Can you imagine a 9-year-old with a bag of candy they aren’t allowed to touch?! These were the Halloween rules, which I thought every kid had to follow. It was only in my tweens did I realise these rituals (rules) were because of my food allergies.
My parents never made a big deal about my allergies. Anything they did to protect me was done discreetly so that I wouldn’t feel different. One amazing thing they did was to make a game of sorting the Halloween candy. I loved this game! It was my favourite part of trick-or-treating because I could see my whole ‘score’ and find out what the most popular candy was that year (it was generally one with peanuts). By making it a game it took away the potential pain of having half the candy taken away.
The ‘sort the candy game’ was the best thing for an allergy kid when allergies were still rare. But in the end, it is incredibly wasteful to get rid of so much perfectly fine candy. With food allergies on the rise that’s going to be a lot of treats in the garbage. This is why the Teal Pumpkin Project is amazing! No more wasted candy and no more feeling Halloween is a celebration that points out an allergy kid’s restrictions.
Get your teal pumpkin!
It is so simple to take part in the project: all you need is to paint your pumpkin teal or print out a sign that says you offer allergy friendly or non-food treats. You can also purchase teal pumpkins and non-food related treats from Target! The gifts you offer can be anything from bubbles to stickers. The dollar store is a great place to look for fun trinkets.
If you decide to take part, there is a map that shows allergy friendly houses and shops in your neighborhood. You can get more information on FARE’s website.
Spread the word! Pin the photo below↓
Kortney is your typical atopic triad! She manages asthma, eczema, environmental and food allergies. Kortney is a co-creator of the online community Allergy Travels and co-host of The Itch Podcast. She wants to spread joy in a community that can easily see the hard side of life with atopic disease and believes that you can have a full life with food allergies, it may just be lived a little differently!