With Halloween just a few days away, I wanted to share with you an initiative that I’m supporting this spooktacular season…The Teal Pumpkin Project. Launched in 2014 by Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE), the goal of the Teal Pumpkin Project is to raise awareness of food allergies and create a safer, happier Halloween by encouraging households to make non-food treats available so trick-or-treaters who need to avoid candy (due to allergies or other concerns) can fully participate.
Although I had heard about the Teal Pumpkin Project last year, I wasn’t able to participate since I lived in an apartment. Now that I have a home of my own, I’m jumping on the bandwagon! Given the increasing number of children with food allergies and intolerances, I think it’s a great way to allow them to enjoy the holiday tradition without feeling excluded or singled out. Plus, as an RD, I constantly struggle with the idea of encouraging all that sugar-laden candy and this gives me an alternative to being the house who gives out apples or toothbrushes! 😉 Though I would much rather give out healthy food treats, I also don’t want to get a reputation as the neighborhood grouch or have my new home vandalized. Don’t worry, I’m not a total wet blanket. I did buy candy (for those who can enjoy it) in addition to the toys and stickers I bought for the Teal Pumpkin Project. And for me, since I do enjoy a Twix now and again…
So, if you want to join me and take part in the Teal Pumpkin Project too, here’s what you can do:
- Visit the FARE website and take the Teal Pumpkin Pledge.
- Download free printables, signs and materials to post at your house or share in your workplace.
- Purchase low-cost non-food treats to provide for trick-or-treaters (think glow sticks, bubbles, crayons, stickers, etc).
- Paint a pumpkin teal and place it in front of your home to indicate you have non-food treats available.
- Consider donating to FARE to support research, education, advocacy and awareness programs for food allergies.
- Spread the word to family and friends using the #tealpumpkinproject hashtag.
Being that this is our first Halloween in our house, I have no clue how many trick-or-treaters we will get, or how many may need to take advantage of the Teal Pumpkin Project. Check out my teal pumpkin (well, sort of blue because the aqua turned out to not be green enough) and some of the things I bought so far (I also ordered this assortment of Halloween toys from Amazon, not pictured).
If nothing else, I hope to pique interest in the neighborhood and increase awareness of the prevalence and severity of food allergies. On top of that, I really hope to have some kids who may not have allergies, but choose the non-food treat over the sugary candy anyway! But that’s just the hopeful dietitian in me…
Have you heard of the Teal Pumpkin Project? Do you know someone who is affected by food allergies? What’s the worst thing you ever received while trick-or-treating as a kid? (Mine was a nickel…)