As a kid, there was no holiday quite like Halloween. The crisp fall weather, the decorations, the parties, the costumes and of course, an evening spent trick-or-treating. We’d navigate the neighborhood with precision, focusing on the houses that gave out full size treats by the handful. And like any smart spy, we’d steer clear of those houses offering raisins and left over Valentine conversation hearts.
Halloween today remains the holiday for kids. There’s still the thrill of sorting through a candy-filled bag of goodies, trading for our faves (hello Kit-Kats) and negotiating with parents on just how much candy we could eat before bedtime. But times have changed and so have children’s (and parents’) wants and needs, especially related to allergens, nutritional requirements and other health concerns.
Enter the Teal Pumpkin Project. Inspired by a local awareness activity by the Food Allergy Community of East Tennessee (FACET), it was launched as a national campaign by Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) in 2014 to promote food allergy awareness, peer inclusion and community building. Homes with teal pumpkins sitting outside their front door is a clear sign to trick-or-treaters that non-food treats, such as glow sticks, pencils or small toys, will be among the treats to choose from. The intent is to provide children with allergies or health issues the ability to enjoy the fun and tradition of trick-or-treating, without the feeling that they will come home empty-handed.
Last year, households from all 50 states and 14 countries participated in the Teal Pumpkin Project, helping to create a safer, more inclusive Halloween for all trick-or-treaters.
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Here are some great ideas from the folks at the “Teal Pumpkin Project” on how everyone can become involved:
- Place a teal pumpkin in front of your home to indicate that you ‘re handing out non-food treats.
- Provide non-food treat options for trick-or-treaters, such as small toys.
- Display a free printable sign or premium poster from FARE to explain the meaning of your teal pumpkin.
- Make a donation to support the Teal Pumpkin Project and receive a free gift.