Tuesday, September 27, 2016

How to Do the Teal Pumpkin Project

Last year I wrote about my participation in the Teal Pumpkin Project. (You can read about it here.) And this Halloween, I'm doing it again!

If you don't know, the Teal Pumpkin Project is the Food Allergy Research & Education's (FARE) program to create a safer and happier Halloween for ALL kids. Taking into account that 1 in 13 children in the U.S. has a food allergy, instead of handing out candy, households that participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project pass out non-food treats to trick-or-treaters.

The TEAL PUMPKIN PROJECT® and the Teal Pumpkin Project® logo 
are registered trademarks of Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE).
Food allergies are life-altering and can potentially be life-threatening. Even a tiny amount of an allergen can cause a severe reaction, and many popular Halloween candies contain nuts, milk, soy, wheat, or egg, which are the most common food allergies among children and adults. Not to mention that some of the miniature-sized candies contain different ingredients from the full-size candies, and those mini candies don't always include an ingredients label, so it can be difficult for parents to determine which candy is safe for their child. That's why non-food treats are a fun and safe alternative for those kids.

Last year, households in 50 states and 14 countries put teal pumpkins on their doorsteps (or a Teal Pumpkin Project poster on their doors). You can sign up to participate this year by visiting FARE's website. FARE provides free downloadable fliers and signs so you can advertise your participation, plus you can shop for fun Teal Pumpkin Project goodies, including premium non-food treat kits to give away to your trick-or-treaters. And don't forget to add your address to the map so that trick-or-treaters can see in advance which houses near them are safe!

Last year I handed out bubbles, and this year I know someone who is giving out temporary tattoos. (Please be aware that even some non-food treats, such as Play-Doh, may still not be safe. Play-Doh contains wheat.) I haven't decided yet what to hand out this year. We don't get many trick-or-treaters, sadly, so I think the leftover bubbles from last year will probably suffice.

If you choose not to purchase your non-food treats from FARE (though if you do, all proceeds will go to food allergy research), there are lots of other great places to find some fun goodies. Last year I hit up Target, but the Dollar Store (whichever version you have near you) is also a great place for buying a lot of things at an affordable price. I also like Oriental Trading Company because they sell a lot of bulk goodies at reasonable prices, too.

And if you don't have a teal pumpkin but would like one, you can always go out and buy a craft pumpkin at Michael's or even Walmart (which has a pretty decent craft section) and paint it teal! (I mixed acrylic white paint and acrylic blue paint to make teal for my pumpkin.) A lot of stores also sell pre-painted teal pumpkins and even pumpkin decorating brands such as Pumpkin Masters offer teal pumpkin painting kits!

I hope you'll consider participating in this great program! You can, of course, still hand out regular candy, but providing the option for kids with food allergies to still enjoy trick-or-treating by bringing home a non-food treat will really make those kids feel good!

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