Have you seen teal pumpkins outside of homes or on store shelves and wondered, hmm why are those pumpkins teal and not orange? Well, teal is the color for food allergy awareness and to those with food allergies seeing a teal pumpkin around Halloween brings a sense of safety.
The Teal Pumpkin Project helps to raise awareness of food allergies and helps to promote inclusion for all trick or treaters during the Halloween season. This is done by placing a Teal Pumpkin on your doorstep during trick or treating and offering nonfood treats for Halloween.
The Teal Pumpkin Project was started in 2012 by Becky Basalone, a Tennessee mother of 2 whose children have food allergies. It all began when she started a food allergy support group and members attended a local allergy friendly Truck or Treat event. Becky’s family painted a teal pumpkin as part of their trunk décor. After the event the Basalone family placed their teal pumpkin on their porch for neighborhood trick or treating and that’s where it all took off. The following year the support group grew and word of the Teal Pumpkin Project spread through social media. By 2014, FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) heard about the Teal Pumpkin Project and started to promote the idea across the country. More recently the Teal Pumpkin Project has started in Canada and Britain!
Participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project is easy.
- Provide nonfood treats for trick or treaters. Many popular Halloween candies contain nuts, milk, egg, soy or wheat which is some of the most common food allergens. Examples of nonfood items include: glow sticks, pencils, bubbles, mini slinkies, stampers, mardi grad beads, tattoos, crazy straws, bookmarks. Purchase at local party stores, dollar stores or online retailers like Amazon and Oriental Trading.
- Paint a pumpkin teal or buy a decorative teal pumpkin and place outside of your home, so people are aware you provide allergy free treats. Target for example has a large variety of teal pumpkins for purchase in the Halloween section.
- If you wish add your house to the Teal Pumpkin Project map on the FACES website so those seeking certain houses can make a game plan for trick or treating. The map can be found here: https://www.foodallergy.org/education-awareness/teal-pumpkin-project/map
- Spread the word! Food allergies affect many people and this is one way children with allergies will not feel excluded on Halloween events and activities.
If you would like to learn more about the Teal Pumpkin project visit the FARE website at https://www.foodallergy.org