For kids with food allergies or other dietary restrictions, Halloween can be a scary time. But the Teal Pumpkin Project makes the holiday more inclusive.
The idea is simple: Neighbors put out a teal pumpkin to signal that they’re ready with nonfood treats for trick-or-treaters who can’t eat traditional Halloween candy.
The seed for the teal pumpkin movement was planted in 2012 by Becky Basalone, founder of FACET (Food Allergy Community of East Tennessee). She wanted kids and families to know at a glance where they could receive treats that wouldn’t trigger their allergies. She painted a pumpkin teal, the recognized color for food allergy awareness, and handed out toys and trinkets at a Halloween event, instead of candy.
The idea quickly took hold. Instead of candy and other sweets, householders with teal pumpkins on their steps offer stickers, glow sticks, bouncy balls, crayons and whistles. It’s become established enough that major retailers like Target, CVS, Walmart and Michaels sell teal goody bags, treat buckets and lawn signs that proclaim: “Trick or Trinket: Happy Allergy-Friendly Halloween.”
Visit the Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) website to learn more about the Teal Pumpkin Project. Parents can add their homes to a map of locations offering non-food items to trick-or-treaters so families can plan their routes. The site also offers printable signs in English, Spanish and French, as well as flyers that can help spread the word.