As you finish decorating your home for Halloween, consider this: 1 in every 13 children (under 18 years of age) in the U.S. is affected by a food allergy. For these children, there really is a 'trick' to their treats! Consider making their Halloween a little less spooky by taking part in the Teal Pumpkin Project™, and placing a painted pumpkin on your porch to signal that your treats are safe for everyone to enjoy.
What is The Teal Pumpkin Project™?
The Teal Pumpkin Project™ was started by FARE, an organization that "works on behalf of the 15 million Americans with food allergies, including all those at risk for life-threatening anaphylaxis." FARE is asking families everywhere to offer non-food treats, or separate their candy by type, to help make Halloween safer and more enjoyable for children with food allergies. Since food allergies span a wide range of severity and triggers, there is no single type of candy that everyone can eat. An outpouring of support has already begun on social media, including FARE's Facebook page, where parents and children alike are posting photos of themselves painting their pumpkins teal. Families affected by other food-related illnesses, like celiac disease or diabetes, are also supporting the project since trick-or-treating can be tough for them too.
How can I paint a pumpkin?
It's easy! Spray paint + primer will adhere well to your pumpkin, and be weather resistant. After decorating, a clear coat will seal in drawings or stickers, and help the paint last even longer. If the clear coat happens to be full of glitter or glow in the dark - well, that's just even more fun! Go ahead and flex those creative muscles.
Some of our favorite decorating supplies* are:
- Rustoleum 2x Ultra Cover Spray Paint + Primer in Gloss Seaside
- Krylon Glitter Blast Glitter Spray in Sparkling Waters
- Krylon Glowz Glow-In-The-Dark Spray Paint
- Sharpie Fine Point Permanent Markers
- Glow Sticks
Pumpkin paintin' supplies!
What are some non-food treats I can offer?
The most common food allergies are milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish - but there are many more. By eliminating food treats, you are eliminating the risk of an allergic reaction for all children with all types of food allergies. Some inexpensive ideas for fun non-food treats are:
- Glow Sticks
Ideas for non-food treats from FARE
What if I already bought my candy?
No problem! You can still help keep Halloween safe for children with food allergies by letting parents know you are separating your candy by type, which (almost) eliminates cross contamination. That means the "safe" food is not touching the "unsafe" food (remember, no single food is allergy safe for everyone) and helps contain the trigger ingredient. Another way to help parents is to have your candy packaging handy. Not all candies have their ingredients printed directly on the individually-wrapped pieces, so a quick glance at the main ingredients label could make a big difference.
*Please note, The Teal Pumpkin Project™ is a trademark of Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE). Any products mentioned in this blog post are meant for informative purposes only, and proceeds from these items will not monetarily benefit FARE. If you would like to make a monetary donation to FARE and The Teal Pumpkin Project™, please visit foodallergy.org. For more information about the Teal Pumpkin Project™, please visit FARE's tools & resources page.