Okay, so that was a click-bait headline. But now that I have your attention:
That statistic may be alarming to you. It was to me. Because food allergies aren’t really talked about. Despite so many people being affected by allergic reactions to things like peanuts, milk, eggs, or a whole host of other foods, the severity of the condition doesn’t really make it into our typical conversations.
And for most of us, that means we also don’t realize how food allergies can get in the way of everyday life. Until about a month ago, I’d never given a second thought to how kids with food allergies spend Halloween. But the reality is: for many of them, trick-or-treating can be life-threatening.
That’s why I’m excited to tell you about the Teal Pumpkin Project.
Ya’ll already know about my son’s allergies. And if you somehow missed my rants about the EpiPen price hikes, click here. After buying him a medical bracelet and stocking up on epinephrine, I started researching and came across this initiative from Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE).
The Teal Pumpkin Project helps ensure that all children can have a safe, fun Halloween by encouraging parents to offer non-food treats to trick-or-treaters. Because, for some kids, certain treats – even when they’re wrapped – can cause serious problems. If my son went trick-or-treating and got ahold of some chocolate, for example, it could be a deadly mistake.
The good news is that participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project is super simple. You just offer non-food treats, and you can do so in addition to candy. It doesn’t have to be expensive, either. Take a look at what I was able to pick up for a grand total of $3 at the dollar store:
That’s enough to treat 38 kids.
There are so many options when it comes to non-food treats, too. Glow sticks, small toys, bracelets, plastic rings, stickers, pencils, coloring pages…the list is endless.
And obtaining a teal pumpkin is just as easy. You can grab a pumpkin while your family is at the pumpkin patch, or you can pick up a styrofoam one at the dollar store when you’re getting your non-food treats. I opted for the styrofoam one so that I can reuse it every year. Slap a coat of teal paint on it, and you’re done.
Since not everyone knows about this project – yet – it’s also a good idea to display a printable sign that explains the purpose of your pumpkin. You can download signs for free on FARE’s website.
It’s my hope that you’ll join us in this initiative, and that by the time Russell is old enough to trick-or-treat, there will be lots of teal porches for him to stop at.
Note: Please remember to keep your non-food treats in a separate bowl from the candy to avoid cross-contamination.