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The Hood Magazine

The Teal Pumpkin Project

Sep 26, 2016 09:15AM ● By Hood Magazine
By Brenda Nour, South Dakota Food Allergy Connection

“Trick or Treat!” The words excitedly uttered by millions of adorable ghosts, goblins, princesses, fairies, ninjas and super heroes on Halloween. Children everywhere look forward to Halloween and the opportunity to dress up as their favorite character, fantasy, or career dream as they blissfully go door to door filling their buckets with candy. It sounds like every child’s perfect scenario, but for the 8% of children in the U.S. living with food allergies, this idealistic tradition can be scary or even impossible to take part in due to the risk of an allergic reaction.

In an effort to make this tradition an experience available to all children, The Teal Pumpkin Project was initiated. It was inspired by a local awareness project run by the Food Allergy Community of East Tennessee and launched as a national campaign by FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education) in 2014. Last year, households in all 50 states and 14 countries participated in the movement.    

The Teal Pumpkin Project encourages awareness and promotes safety and inclusion for individuals with food allergies. You can participate by simply providing non-food treat options for trick-or-treaters. Items such as glow sticks, beaded necklaces, small toys, pencils, bouncy balls, bubbles, stickers, kazoos or whistles, bookmarks, or spider rings are all great ideas. The non-food “treats” are not intended to replace the candy, but rather complement the long time tradition of a sugar filled Halloween. The project has not only benefited those with food allergies, but also children with diabetes, feeding tubes, or other medical conditions necessitating a restricted diet.

In order to participate, display a teal pumpkin and/or Teal Pumpkin Project sign (available at notifying trick-or-treaters you have safe, non-food treat options available. Painting a ceramic or other faux pumpkin teal can be a great way to save time and reuse it year after year. By making a few changes to your Halloween tradition, you will make a huge difference in the experience of many children, and likely enhance your own as well.

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