Fall is in the air and Halloween is just around the corner. I don’t actually like Halloween, but it’s so important to address given the prevalence of food allergies these days. Today, I’ll be explaining the Teal Pumpkin Project and how you can support the food allergy community and research!
Most kids don’t think twice about the Halloween candy they collect, but with food allergies, trick-or-treating gets a bit more complicated. Thankfully, I had it relatively simple: if it didn’t have a label, I wouldn’t eat it. I kept the candy that was safe and gave the rest to my dad or sister. However, some kids have such severe allergies that they can’t even eat candy from the same bowl as the allergen. For example, if someone is extremely allergic to peanuts, they may not be able to eat Skittles from the same bowl as Reese’s. Not only that, but most fun-sized candies do not have adequate labeling.
This is where the Teal Pumpkin Project comes in, an initiative from Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE). It encourages people to offer non-food goodies alongside the candy for trick-or-treaters. By placing a teal pumpkin on your porch, you tell food allergy families that you have safe treats. FARE even has a map of teal pumpkin neighborhoods to help families find the safe spots to trick-or-treat.
Food allergies often make kids feel left out and socially awkward since food is at the center of nearly every social event. (Like honestly, why must there always be food?! I’m half joking, but also serious.) Whether or not you have a connection with food allergies, I encourage everyone to take part in this movement. There are a couple of ways you can help. First, as you shop for Halloween candy, pick up some small toys and trinkets as well. Then place a teal pumpkin on your porch to let everyone know you have safe treats and support the food allergy community.
Even if you live in an apartment, the country, or don’t get many trick-or-treaters, you can still help too! (Don’t feel left out– this is all about inclusion after all!) All you have to do is head over to my Etsy shop and purchase a hand-crocheted teal pumpkin. They are super cute fall decorations and all proceeds will go directly to FARE to support research and outreach on this increasingly important topic.
Thank you for supporting this great cause and making a difference in the lives of food allergic families. As we await a cure, the best way to keep everyone safe is to raise awareness. Even if you aren’t directly impacted, being cognizant of the severity, being respectful of everyone’s comfort zones, and helping everyone feel included makes such a difference.