by Kelley Barnett, Updated for 2020
If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me how to "do the Teal Pumpkin Project", I would be rich! I am excited to share with you how easy and affordable it is to include ALL children on Halloween. Join the Food Allergy Alliance of the Mid-South in turning the Mid-South teal this Halloween!
Find CDC Guidelines for Halloween 2020 here.
Started in Tennessee...
Becky Basalone, food allergy mom and Founder/Director of the Food Allergy Community of East TN, started painting pumpkins teal in the fall of 2012. She wanted all children to enjoy trick-or-treating in her Knoxville community and came up with the idea to paint pumpkins the color of food allergy awareness to display on Halloween letting the community know which houses had non-food items for lil' goblins diagnosed with food allergies. Genius! Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) was so impressed they took it over as a national campaign, the Teal Pumpkin Project.
Why it matters...
I have been asked why the Teal Pumpkin Project is needed, "Why can't you just pick out the candy your child can't have?" Unfortunately, that does not work for everyone. Food allergies and reactions vary greatly and families manage them based on their specific circumstances.
Now on to the how...
Participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project is as easy as 1-2-3!
Still on the fence?
If you are still on the fence, let me answer other concerns I have heard...
Concern: "But it costs so much more than candy, I can't afford to do it."
Solution: This is not true! A bulk bag of Halloween candy can range $15-$30. A bulk bag of glow sticks costs $10. You can purchase inexpensive glow sticks, bead necklaces, stickers, mini bubbles, spider rings, fangs and witch fingers. Some of my personal favorites are purchased online at Oriental Trading Company and at my local Dollar Tree. Another great food allergy organization, the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Connection Team (FAACT), partnered with Wal-Mart for even more affordable options. Just look for FAACT's teal ghost logo in the Halloween department! You can also find fun options on the party favor aisles.
Concern: "How do I know which goblins to give toys to?"
Solution: You will know. They will look for teal pumpkins and will be so excited to see one that they will say something to you. I like to tape the sign I printed to the bowl of non-food goodies to make it more obvious. You can ask who needs a teal pumpkin treat and when you hear an "I do!" behind that cute Spiderman mask, you will know that little goblin needs a toy instead. Sign the Teal Pumpkin Pledge and print the certificate to hang in your door or window, which many families use to find teal pumpkins in their neighborhoods.
Concern: "I don't have many trick-or-treaters so I don't want to spend money on both candy and toys."
Solution: Try just toys then! I offered both toys and candy in the past and allowed every child to choose, and had a lot of candy left over and no leftover toys. Even teenagers wanted bubbles! Since then, I only offer toys. The good part is you can save any leftovers you may have.
I encourage you to try it and I think you will find that you enjoy it more than the children do. And they may not tell you at that moment, but that teal pumpkin gives you Halloween Hero status!
Are you wanting to stay safer at home or is your community not trick-or-treating this year?
Check out these fun ideas from FAACT for Safe & Alternative Halloween Family Activities. There are so many different ways to celebrate this time of year!
Updated yearly from the original post. The TEAL PUMPKIN PROJECT® and the Teal Pumpkin Project® logo are registered trademarks of Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE).
Food for Thought is the blog for the Food Allergy Alliance of the MidSouth. FAAM's mission is to provide food allergy support, education, advocacy, fellowship & fun for Memphis, TN and surrounding areas.
If you have a medical emergency, call 911 immediately and follow up with a physician.