While many children and families experience so much fun and excitement with Halloween, it can be a hard time for those with food allergies and other disabilities.
My son, Easton, is autistic and has food allergies, making Halloween doubly hard. We weren’t able to participate in the traditional way of trick or treating until my little man was 5 years old. He couldn’t handle the experience of visiting the houses of strangers one at a time, not to mention the costumes. The whole thing was absolutely terrifying. I would hand out treats while my son and husband were upstairs with headphones on hiding from the noise and fear.
Last year when Easton was able to handle the costumes and mustered enough courage to trick or treat, we still had another problem.
Because of his food allergies, my son couldn’t have any of the treats that were handed out. Luckily, his allergies and intolerances are not life threatening, but there are so many kiddos out there for whom Halloween can be extremely dangerous. After hearing about The Teal Pumpkin Project, I wanted to raise awareness to our community on what an amazing opportunity it is.
The Teal Pumpkin Project is an awesome way to teach our children how to show love and support by caring for the well-being of others. We can help turn what is a dreaded holiday for some families into one where their children are not excluded and can safely enjoy the night along with their friends and families.
What is the Teal Pumpkin Project?
The Teal Pumpkin Project is a nationwide cause created by the Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) organization to provide a safe and fun environment for children. Whether your child has an allergy or other disability, every child should be able to enjoy trick-or-treating on Halloween.
Through the Teal Pumpkin Project, FARE helps make sure all children come home on Halloween night with something they can enjoy. It just takes one simple act: offering non-food treats, like glow sticks or small toys, as an alternative to candy.
Last year, households from all 50 states and 14 countries participated! This is a worldwide movement to create a safer, happier Halloween for all trick-or-treaters.
How can you participate?
1. Provide non-food treats for trick-or-treaters or offer separate bowls for food vs. non-food.
You can also purchase candy that is allergen friendly and free of dyes and many other harmful chemicals from the Natural Candy Store.
2. Place a teal pumpkin in front of your home to indicate that you have non-food treats available.
This is a great teaching opportunity for your child. Let them help paint or decorate a teal pumpkin. Display a free printable sign or premium poster from FARE to explain the meaning of your teal pumpkin.
3. Add your address as a participant in The Teal Pumpkin Project Map.
If you are a family searching for safe places to trick or treat you can view this map also to see available houses in the area.
Please consider participating this year! We want to raise awareness in Des Moines and provide lots of places for kids to experience a safe Halloween!
If you are interested in supporting FARE or fundraising opportunities contact [email protected]