Local Residents Join National Food Allergy Awareness Project
Trick-or-treating is a fun activity for most children, but for kids with food allergies, it can be a challenge. The Teal Pumpkin Project® is a national effort to raise awareness of food allergies and promote inclusion of all trick-or-treaters throughout the Halloween season.
A teal pumpkin on a doorstep means the resident has non-food treats available, such as glow sticks or small toys. This simple act is designed to promote inclusion for trick-or-treaters with food allergies or other conditions.
Kids with allergies will often carry teal containers to indicate they have an allergy, but those distributing candy can either ask trick-or-treaters if they have any food allergies, or give every visitor a choice of which treat they’d like: candy or a non-food item.
Affordable non-food items are available at dollar stores, party supply stores, or online shops, and low-cost items can be purchased and handed out to all trick-or-treaters, or made available in a separate bowl from candy if a resident chooses to hand out both options. Nearly all of these items can be found in a Halloween theme or festive colors.
According to FARE, there are a few considerations when choosing which non-food items to hand out. First, some non-food items still contain food allergens, such as some brands of moldable clay, which may contain wheat. Additionally, try to choose latex-free items, as there are children who have latex allergies. Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) suggests the following items to hand out this Halloween, in place of candy.
“I am participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project because I believe all kids deserve to enjoy Halloween,” said local mother Faith Storms. “On a personal level, my youngest child has a genetic disorder that requires a special diet. He can’t have most commercial candy, so it is that much more important to me to make sure I have non-food treats out for him and other kids like him.”
Storms encourages other parents to consider the Teal Pumpkin Project.
“Halloween is for everyone. Why not take an extra step and make sure all kids can participate? Those kids and their parents will appreciate it more than you know,” she said.
Visit the FARE website for more tips, including this list:
• Glow sticks, bracelets, or necklaces
• Pencils, pens, crayons or markers
• Halloween erasers or pencil toppers
• Mini Slinkies
• Whistles, kazoos, or noisemakers
• Bouncy balls
• Finger puppets or novelty toys
• Spider rings
• Vampire fangs
• Mini notepads
• Playing cards