First off, why Teal?
Teal is the color of FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) and all those teal pumpkins you see in places like Target is because of The Teal Pumpkin Project. It is a movement to spread awareness of food allergies and to create a more inclusive trick-or-treating experience on Halloween by offering non-food items to kids with food allergies. By placing a teal pumpkin on your porch this indicates that you offer food allergy-friendly treats.
Second off, my kids don’t have food allergies
My three children are part of the 77% of kids who get to have a “normal” Halloween and go trick-or-treating without needing to throw out the majority of their treats they so eagerly collected because of an allergy. Do you remember going trick-or-treating and getting bummed that certain houses gave out things like nickels, pencils, pretzels (non-candy), or even pads of paper?! As a child with zero food allergies it’s typically a bummer to collect things other than candy.
Which is why I bought a teal pumpkin
Because trick-or-treating was one of my favorite past times. Remember running home after filling your pillowcase full of candy, excitedly spreading it out on the floor and taking inventory of what you got, trading your Butterfingers for your sister’s Reese’s?
I do. And so will my kids. Which is why I bought a teal pumpkin.
Because when I first saw this movement I thought to myself,
“But my kids don’t have food allergies, why would I need to participate?”
And I’m glad I so selfishly asked myself this question – because with that question, I received my answer. Not every kid gets to have this experience on Halloween like your kids do, Theresa, so why not help to make it that way?
As a mom, I wanted to contribute
I’m not saying candy is everything or Trick-or-Treating is everything or even that Halloween is an important holiday for kids…all I’m saying is there are kids who don’t get that same experience because 95% of the treats they collect they are not allowed to eat.
Now I’m sure parents of kids with food allergies do a great job of explaining to their child that it’s okay to not have candy on Halloween, or ever. But I still felt moved to join the movement of making the Trick-or-Treating experience more exciting and inclusive for kids with food allergies.
Again, my kids have zero food allergies so I cannot speak for any mom or dad who deals with how serious this is on a daily basis.
I just can’t imagine, but I’ve witnessed what it’s like from other moms to not be able to bring your child to a party, having to carry an EpiPen with you, or just the anxiety it must bring that your child can get an allergic reaction at any moment from doing something so “normal” in the eyes of people without food allergies.
I have no idea what it feels like to be left out of social situations like this because of a food allergy, and that is exactly what moved me to participate in this so that more kids can feel included and to show other people that you don’t need to be fighting the same battle in order to show support.
How can you be apart of this movement?
- Get a teal pumpkin or paint one teal
- Register your house as food-allergy friendly for Halloween right here so your neighborhood kids can find you!
- Get some non-food treats for the kiddos who can’t eat candy!
I am personally doing 2 bowls of treats: one filled with candy and one with non-food Halloween goodies. Was it a bit more expensive this year? A little, and I understand not everyone will be able or willing to participate. But if you can that’s great!
It doesn’t just benefit kids with food allergies you know, type 1 diabetes and childhood obesity can be another good reason to add non-food treats to your bowl this year!