Why are we painting our pumpkins teal?
By Mommy MD Guide Jeannette Gonzalez Simon, DO
Halloween is a great time of year. Kids get so excited about dressing in their costumes, going to a Halloween party, marching in their school Halloween parade and eating Halloween candy. But what about the kids who can’t eat Halloween candy. What about them? Many kids have to abstain from trick-or-treating because they cannot eat the candy safely. It can be for a variety of reasons. They may suffer from celiac disease, diabetes, a nut allergy, other food allergies and intolerances or they may need to follow a special diet. Why should these children not be able to enjoy the festivities?
For many years, some parents kept their children from this celebrating this tradition to protect them from a possible anaphylactic reaction or severe allergic reaction. Then the campaign called #THETEALPUMPKINPROJECT started.
Last year, I saw a few Teal pumpkins painted in my neighborhood. It piqued everyone’s curiosity. Many just thought “oh how pretty.” But what is the purpose? In 2014 the Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) launched a national campaign called the Teal Pumpkin Project™. The Teal Pumpkin Project raises awareness of food allergies and promotes inclusion of all trick-or-treaters throughout the Halloween season. This nationwide movement offers an alternative for kids with food allergies, as well as other children for whom candy is not an option. It keeps Halloween a fun, positive experience for all!
It seems a daunting task at first. Many say, “I don’t want to be the house not giving out candy or chocolate, the kids will hate us and egg our front door!” In reality there are many really cool fun non-food items that you can hand out. Kids would love to get glow sticks or glow bracelets. They will undoubtedly put them on immediately and use them the rest of the night. Bouncy balls, stickers, tattoos are all great options. You can find a list of recommended non-gift treats here at FARE’s website.
To let the neighborhood now that you are participating in this event you can paint your pumpkin teal and also put up one of the FAREs downloadable signs on your window or front door. And YES, you can still give out candy if you choose too.