Whatever outdoor fall decor look you’re going for, the color that pops out the most this season is teal. Teal is the color for food allergy awareness and while Food Allergy Awareness Month is in May, the month of October is also a time to bring awareness to this important subject.
The Teal Pumpkin Project, started by Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) encourages those passing out candy to consider a non-food alternative and to display a teal pumpkin to signify such a choice is available.
According to The Teal Pumpkin Project website, 1 in 13 children in the U.S. and approximately 15 million Americans of all ages have a food allergy. Considering that even just the tiniest bit of exposure to an allergen can cause a severe reaction, including anaphylaxis, a night of trick-or-treating can be quite tricky for this population. Having a non-food alternative available is great way to promote inclusion for all kids.
Personally, I cannot tell you how overjoyed I get when I see a teal pumpkin on display.
My four year old son has a life-threatening allergy to dairy and finding little treasures that he can keep and play with in his bucket is so exciting. Of course, we absolutely love getting dressed up in our costumes and going trick-or-treating around the neighborhood, but because the majority of the chocolate candy passed out on Halloween contains milk, most of his haul gets given away (or secretly eaten by Daddy). While my little guy is very aware of his allergy and knows the risk all too well, it breaks my mama heart for him that he doesn’t get to keep all his stuff. So when we see a teal pumpkin on display, we make a mad dash over to that house and just gush over those folks for being a food allergy advocate. For families like us, it truly is a special treat.
You can paint a traditional orange pumpkin teal by using acrylic paint found at any craft store. Choose a pumpkin that has a smooth, even surface and give it a good rinse and thoroughly dry before you begin to paint. Using a sponge to apply paint works best because the paint goes on less “streaky.” If painting a pumpkin isn’t your thing, you can download a sign here, or you can find artificial teal pumpkins at many retailers.
The Dollar Store is a great place to get non-food item treats, but even stores like Target have a bunch of goodies & trinkets that won’t break the bank. Here’s a list of ideas:
- Glow sticks
- Noise makers (all parents’ favorite!)
- Vampire teeth
- Spider rings
- Temporary tattoos
- Mini note pads
If I’ve encouraged you to participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project, you can even register your address (or street or neighborhood) on FARE’s interactive map. Through this map, you can get connected with other families in your area who are participating and it helps those of us families with food allergies find you.
For more info about the Teal Pumpkin Project, and food allergy research & education, please visit FARE’s website.
From my little goblins to yours, wishing you all a very safe and super fun Halloween!