Trick-or-treating is a favorite Halloween tradition for many kids. But for children with food allergies, trick-or-treating can be a truly scary activity. Many popular Halloween candies contain one or more of the top 8 allergens (such as peanuts or tree nuts, milk, wheat, and more). It can be challenging for families to review the ingredients of every piece of Halloween candy the child comes home with to ensure that the candy is safe for them to consume—and in some cases (for example, if the child is allergic to peanuts), misreading the label can have life-threatening consequences.
But this Halloween, Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) is encouraging communities to begin a new holiday tradition that helps accommodate children with food allergies. The Teal Pumpkin Project encourages people to also provide non-food treats for trick-or-treaters and to put a teal pumpkin outside your door to indicate that these types of treats are available at your home.
Want to participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project? Try these tips:
Purchase some inexpensive non-food items that kids will enjoy, such as:
- Mini notebooks
- Pencils or mini crayon packs
- Halloween erasers or pencil toppers
- Plastic noisemakers like kazoos or whistles
- Toys like bouncy balls or mini Slinkys
- Halloween items like spider rings or spooky stickers
- Playing cards
- Glow sticks or glow bracelets/necklaces
You can find these items at your local dollar store, mass market retailer, or party supply store.
Paint a pumpkin teal (the color of food allergy awareness) and place it outside your door on Halloween, before trick-or-treaters arrive. No time to paint a pumpkin? No worries! Just print a free printable sign from FARE and hang it outside your door.
Keep the non-food items separate from any food you’re handing out. Put non-food items in a separate bowl from candy or other edible treats.
Ask trick-or-treaters if they have any food allergies. If so, offer them the bowl of non-food treats so they can pick something safe and fun!
And don’t worry—if you participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project, you can still hand out candy to any trick-or-treaters who are able to have it! Just remember to keep your non-food items separate from your edible treats, and you should be able to accommodate everyone who comes to your door on Halloween.
And don’t forget to print out a Teal Pumpkin Project poster or flyer to hang at your door on Halloween if you are giving out non-food treats. (Please note: The poster and the flyer are formatted for A4 paper, but will also print on 8.5×11 and 11×14 paper using the “fit to page” setting.)