Halloween can be a fun, but scary time for obvious reasons. Complete with frightening costumes, haunted houses and loads of tricks and treats, this holiday is not void of celebrations or festivities. While many parents worry if their child will receive a trick instead of a treat, other parents are struck with another concern. They are wondering how to allow their child who has food allergies to participate in the festivities while keeping them safe. Last year, Food Allergy and Research Education (FARE) launched the Teal Pumpkin Project to make Halloween a safe and happy occasion for all kids.
The concept behind the project is for participants to place a pumpkin they have painted the color teal outside of their residence. This serves as an indicator to parents that the home has non-edible treats available as an alternative. Partakers who do not have the time or the means to paint a pumpkin can print out a free sign from FARE’s website and post it outside their home. Both options identify the residence as a safe place for children with food allergies to visit while trick-or-treating. Veronica LaFemina, vice president of communications at FARE, said:
With one in 13 children in the United States affected, there is a good chance that a child on your block or in your neighborhood is living with food allergies. Learning about and participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project encourages empathy and a sense of community. The smile on a child’s face when they see that a neighbor has given them a treat they can enjoy is really something special.
The project is not designed to change the holiday by removing candy, instead it was created to include all who desired to participate in the many festivities. The Teal Pumpkin Project is a safeguard for all kids and a way to make a big difference for children who are living with food allergies or other conditions where candy would not be a viable treat. There are many options outside of candy such a glow-sticks, bubbles, stickers and decorative pencils among other inexpensive treats. FARE is asking families all across the globe to join their efforts by taking the Teal Pumpkin Project pledge to make Halloween safe.
Halloween’s new hue can also serve to educate other children on the seriousness of food allergies. Food intolerance affects one in three people who either have a food allergy or have been forced to modify the family diet because of a food allergy with a family member. It is extremely important to understand and identify these intolerances because allergic reactions can cause devastating illnesses, which in some cases may be fatal.
The Teal Pumpkin Project aims to make the holiday less scary for children with allergies to certain foods. Launched as a national campaign in 2014, households from seven countries and 50 states participated. FARE is seeking to increase awareness this year and is asking everyone to join their efforts by taking the Teal Pumpkin Project pledge to promote the inclusion of all trick-or-treat participants this season.
Help create a safer, happier Halloween for all and push the movement by going to the Food and Allergy website to register. The holiday season’s fearful adventures are designed as entertainment, not life threatening. No child should be left out because of food allergies while their friends and others in the community participate in the many Halloween festivities. Take the Teal Pumpkin Project pledge and join 100,000 households in support of a safer holiday season.
By Cherese Jackson (Virginia)
WCBD News2: What’s up with teal pumpkins? They could save kids’ lives this Halloween
FARE: Teal Pumpkin Project Pledge
WebMD: Allergies Health Center
All Photos Courtesy of The Teal Pumpkin Project