by Tracey Shaffer, RDN, LD
You may have seen teal-painted pumpkins decking out a neighbor’s porch, or teal pumpkin signage on front doors and staked in yards. These are welcome Halloween decorations for the nearly 15 million Americans living with food allergies. It’s all part of a nationwide effort called the Teal Pumpkin Project, and it’s designed to create a safer Halloween for all.
What Do Teal Pumpkins Mean?
Placing a teal pumpkin (the color of food allergy awareness) outside your home means that non-edible items are available for trick-or-treaters with food allergies. In addition to peanut allergies, other common food allergies include wheat, eggs, milk, tree nuts, and soy—all of which may be found in a variety of popular Halloween candies.
Participants in the Teal Pumpkin Project, however, offer items such as glow sticks, crayons, stickers, spider rings, stencils, and bubbles instead of chocolate and candies. It’s a way of helping all kids feel included in the Halloween fun.
It’s also okay to still pass out candy to kids without food allergies. Just remember to keep the edible treats in a separate container.
How to Get Involved
It’s easy. Simply paint a pumpkin teal and place it visibly in your front yard for trick-or-treaters to see. Some people even like to host teal pumpkin painting parties as a way to get friends and neighbors involved. Then stock up on a variety of non-edible items to offer kids.
Alternatively, you can visit FoodAllergy.org and print free signage to place in your yard, rather than painting a pumpkin. The website also offers free flyers and educational materials to help you spread the word and have a happy, healthy, and safe Halloween.
Tracey Shaffer, RDN, LD is a registered dietitian at the Blue Springs Hy-Vee. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The information is not intended as medical advice.
Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.
Non-Food Trick-or-Treat Ideas:
Bracelets or necklaces
Pencils, pens, crayons or markers
Halloween erasers or pencil toppers
Whistles, kazoos or noisemakers
Finger puppets or novelty toys