NASHVILLE, TENN. (MEDIA GENERAL)—While most parents will be worrying about creepy clowns ruining their child’s trick-or-treating experience, some are worrying if their child will come home with any treats they can enjoy at all.
There’s nothing wrong with regular Halloween candy for most children, but for children with extreme food allergies, it could be life-threatening.
“Virtually any food can cause a reaction,” Food and Allergy Research & Education (FARE) explains on their website. “Many popular Halloween candies contain nuts, milk, egg, soy or wheat, which are some of the most common allergens in children and adults. Additionally, many miniature or fun-size versions of candy items contain different ingredients than their full-size counterparts and some miniature candy items may not have labels, so it is difficult for parents to determine whether these items are safe for their child with food allergies.”
Luckily, the Teal Pumpkin Project provides an easy solution to make Halloween an inclusive holiday for all children—and a way for their parents to know before they ring your doorbell.
How, you ask?
You only need a few items to make it possible:
- Non-candy treats – this is the crux of the project, some children are allergic to peanuts, others gluten, and some sugar. Regardless of allergens, all children can enjoy treats like glow sticks, school supplies and other non-edible novelties. You can still have sweet treats, but keep the other items in a separate bowl!
- A teal pumpkin – Parents will know your home will provide an inclusive Halloween experience, so make sure to put your gourd outside a few days in advance so they know to stop by!
- Optional: A FARE sign to explain your teal pumpkin so more families join in next year! You can also download flyers from their website to post around your neighborhood ahead of Halloween to get other involved.
The Teal Pumpkin Project was started by concerned mother from East Tennessee, and launched as a national campaign by FARE in 2014.
Last year, households from all 50 states and across 14 different countries participated.
And this year, you can bring it to your neighborhood!
Just think, by providing non-candy treats in addition to your normal holiday loot, you’ll help create a better Halloween for children with food allergies, food intolerances, Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE), Celiac disease, diabetes, behavioral disorders, food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES), children with feeding tubes and any child on a special diet!
Dare to be different this Halloween. You know what they say…”teal is the new orange!”Marion Kirkpatrick is a multimedia content producer for Media General. Follow her on Twitter: @mrnkrkptrck.