For some children with food allergies, Halloween can be a source of stress and frustration, rather than a time for fun and laughs. An easy way to make Halloween accessible to all kids is to take part in the “Teal Pumpkin Project”, an initiative launched in 2014 by Food and Allergy Research and Education (FARE). The project was later also adopted by Allergies Québec and Food Allergy Canada.
By displaying a teal pumpkin, you are letting kids with food allergies know that you have non-food items to offer them, such as:
- glow sticks or bracelets
- Halloween-themed pencils and erasers
- stick-on tattoos
- playing cards
There are also some items to avoid. The experts at FARE recommend avoiding modelling clay (some contain gluten) and toys that contain latex.
On Halloween night, don’t be surprised if some non-allergic kids also ask you for toys rather than candy. Young kids love toys, whether they have allergies or not!
Participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project doesn’t mean that you can’t also have candy on hand for non-allergic kids. Just make sure the food treats are well wrapped and kept in a separate bowl from the toy treats.
If you’d like to take part in this project, place a teal pumpkin in plain sight so that kids with allergies can easily spot it. If you don’t want to paint a pumpkin teal, go to http://foodallergycanada.ca/teal-pumpkin-project/ to download a free poster to place on your door or window. And tell your friends and family about this project!