October 12, 2021

What Is the Teal Pumpkin Project?

Halloween is an exciting time for all of us, especially the kiddos. They get to dress up as their favorite things while getting to run around the neighborhood at night with their friends. Of all things associated with Halloween, trick-or-treating is probably the highlight of the night for most kids and then they get to go home to open up tons of candy.

Here’ where the night gets tricky and frustrating for families with food allergies. The reality for over 5 million children in the US is that their parents first need to comb through all their kids’ candy and eliminate any that could cause a reaction for their child. Many kids watch their bucket full of candy turn into a small handful that they’ll be able to safely eat. Sometimes it is none at all. For these children, their fun night with friends can end up being sad, frustrating, and sometimes life-threatening.

The importance of the Teal Pumpkin Project

The Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) organization adopted the Teal Pumpkin Project nationally in 2014 as a way to bring awareness, fun, and safety to children who suffer from food allergies. Most popular candies contain at least one of the 9 common food allergens that affect children with food allergies, such as peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, soy, or wheat. The Top 9 food allergens include milk, wheat, sesame, egg, tree nut, peanut, shellfish, soy and fish.

Most families get a few different candies to give out during Halloween, but the selection is still not enough for children with food allergies. This worldwide movement of the Teal Pumpkin Project is bringing attention to everyone that not all kids are able to enjoy this holiday and that it doesn’t take much effort at all to become a home that is friendly to food allergy sufferers.

How do I participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project?

To participate is a simple, 2-step process. Place a teal pumpkin outside your home and give away non-food treats as an option during Halloween. If painting a pumpkin is too difficult, places like Target, Amazon, and Michael’s sell teal pumpkins that you can decorate and put right outside your home.

What kind of non-food treats can I give away at Halloween?

These can be anything small and inexpensive toys like bubbles or toy cars. Below is a list of different examples that you can find. I also wanted to mention that when you do participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project, you can still give away candy as a treat! Just make sure you keep it in a separate container and you’ll be able to give away treats to all trick-or-treaters this year! Don’t be too surprised when you have some kids and parents asking about the non-food treats or colorful pumpkins.

Here’s some of the most popular treats you can give away. All of these items can be found in abundance for quite cheap at local dollar stores or online!

·        Glow sticks

·        Slime

·        Fidget toys

·        Vampire teeth

·        Stickers

·        Bubbles

·        Bouncy Balls

·        Pencils and erasers

Children who suffer from food allergies already feel excluded from many things in life. Halloween and trick-or-treating doesn’t need to be one of those times. Even if you’re a household with no food allergy sufferers, the Teal Pumpkin Project is an important and easy cause to support and bring joy to kids everywhere!

To learn even more about the Teal Pumpkin Project or to support financially, you can visit their website here.

Get Our FREE E-Book

About The Author:

Stacy Silvers, MD

Dr. Silvers is a board certified allergist specializing in environmental and food allergy diagnosis, treatment and prevention. Dr. Silvers oversees our allergy program and protocols, and also leads the food allergy and oral immunotherapy (OIT) program at Aspire Allergy & Sinus. Dr. Silvers is considered an expert in the field of food allergy diagnosis and treatment. In 2019, Dr. Silvers was named Best Allergist in the Statesman's Best of the Best Contest.