You may or may not have heard of the Teal Pumpkin Project. Its goal is to create a safer, more inclusive Halloween for kids with severe food allergies or intolerances.
Teal pumpkins are a symbol marking houses as a safe space for all trick-or-treaters. Houses displaying these small pieces of décor let kids know they will provide treats that are free of common food allergens. (The most common allergens are milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish, shellfish and sesame.)
David Ezzell, who grew up with food allergies, best sums up the meaning of these displays as, “We have treats you can enjoy that won’t make you sick.” The great thing about teal pumpkins, Ezzell noted, is that they work with the rest of your fall décor.
“I have a cement pumpkin we made using an old Halloween bucket as a mold,” he said. “I’m planning to plant mums in it this year and set it at the front of our porch.”
The Food Allergy Research and Education website includes additional resources and signs to print if you need tips for displaying.
“As a kid growing up with tree nut allergies and a disinterest in chocolate, trick-or-treating was a fun activity with disappointing results,” Ezzell said. “Even the houses sporting full-sized (candy) bars might not have something I could enjoy. I often came home and gave away more than half of my haul.”
Eventually, Ezzell said he and his family stopped participating and his parents would buy him a bag of his favorite candy.
“As an adult and a lover of the holiday, it’s important for me to ensure all kids can enjoy trick-or-treating,” he said.
Ezzell encouraged participation in this project and spreading awareness to your friends. Awareness and inclusivity will make the holiday enjoyable for everyone.
Families can even opt to pass out a wide array of non-food treats for their costumed visitors. Kids will be just as excited to sift through baskets of glow sticks, bracelets, crayons, bubbles, spider rings, vampire fangs, mini Slinkies or Halloween stickers. Get creative and have fun with it.