When you think of Halloween, you think of scary movies, an autumn chill in the air, and, of course, candy! Trick-or-treating is every kid’s favorite part of Halloween! Trick-or-treating has been a traditional part of Halloween festivities for a long time, but in recent years it’s gotten more complicated.
The world is not as innocent as it was once, so parents are advised to accompany kids. Additionally, a lot of kids have food allergies that weren’t as common once as they are now. For those kids, trick-or-treating can present a unique challenge. They could participate in the trick-or-treating and show off their costumes, but they couldn’t eat most of the candy they collected. That’s no fun at all!
According to Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), approximately 15 million Americans suffer from food allergies, with one in 13 children under 18 affected. Between 1997 and 2011, there was a 50% increase in food allergies. It’s not known why, but food allergies have been on the rise in a big way (my personal theory involves the increased prevalence of synthetic additives in our food), with kids and teens being particularly vulnerable to potentially life-threatening reactions.
Every three minutes, someone in the United States has to visit the emergency room due to a food allergy. For those of us who are allergy-free, it can be really hard to understand just how inconvenient and frightening these allergies are. This is where “The Teal Pumpkin Project” comes in…
In 2014, FARE began the Teal Pumpkin Project to spread awareness about food allergies around Halloween. These teal pumpkins aren’t just a gorgeous splash of color to your decorations, they also help families of kids with food allergies know that you support them. The idea for teal pumpkins was first implemented by the Food Allergy Community of East Tennessee (FACET) for their local community. It has since spread into a nationwide phenomenon. “The Teal Pumpkin Project promotes safety, inclusion, and respect for all those managing food allergies,” said FARE Director of Communications Nancy Gregory. Just imagine being a kid with food allergies – watching all your friends collect and devour bucketfuls of candy while you have to give most of yours away. Thanks to the Teal Pumpkin Project, however, trick-or-treating can be fun for everyone! Here’s how it works:
All you’ve got to do is put a teal pumpkin outside your house to indicate to trick-or-treaters and their parents that you are ready and willing to provide non-food items like stickers, glow sticks, and various other trinkets that won’t trigger food allergies. This way, Halloween can be fun for all. The pledge reads: “This Halloween, I pledge to show, some extra kindness to the kids I know. I’ll get some non-food treats at the store, like glow sticks, bracelets, stickers and more!