Every Halloween, kids dressed like black cats and SpongeBob Squarepants flood the streets, going door-to-door to find candy at people’s houses. For most, this is a special time to eat fun-sized candy as part of a fun-filled night.
For other kids, their food allergies keep them away from trick-or-treating because so many candies contain soy, wheat, chocolate, peanuts or gluten. But now these kids don’t have to worry about food allergies spoiling their Halloween fun.
The Teal Pumpkin Project, started in 2014 by the nonprofit Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), helps these kids with food allergies have fun during Halloween rather than worry about the amount of candy in their bags. Participants in the Teal Pumpkin Project place teal pumpkins in front of their homes, which lets kids know that the house is safe for trick-or-treaters with food allergies.
“The Teal Pumpkin Project promotes safety, inclusion and respect for all those managing food allergies,” FARE Director of Communications Nancy Gregory told The Huffington Post.
FARE has partnered with Michaels Craft Stores to spread food allergy awareness in their stores along with ideas for participants in the Teal Pumpkin Project.
The Project’s goal this year is to have at least one teal pumpkin on every residential block in the U.S. According to the FARE website, one in 13 children in the U.S. has a food allergy, and someone is admitted to the emergency room because of food allergies once every three minutes. Economically, food allergies cost $25 billion a year to treat.
How To Participate
To combat this problem, you can help keep hospital visits to a minimum this Halloween by participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project.
On the day of trick-or-treating, you can put out one bowl of candy and another bowl filled with non-candy treats for those with food allergies. Some ideas for items you can put inside this bowl are bubbles, erasers, bouncy balls, Mini Slinkies and plastic spider rings.
If you have more questions, like why the color teal (answer: it’s the color of food allergy awareness), check out the Teal Pumpkin Project FAQ page, and spread the word!