As the Halloween season approaches we often get questions about the history of the Teal Pumpkin Project. This is a popular Halloween trend that started in 2014 by FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) to help create an allergy-safe Halloween that will make more children feel included. Often when trick-or-treating there are limited options for our friends who might have a peanut or other type of allergy. At PediaPlex we are very familiar with food allergies and sensitivities, so we feel it’s important to share the history of the Teal Pumpkin Project and encourage you to try it this Halloween!
In 2014, FARE started the Teal Pumpkin Project to raise awareness of food allergies and help to promote inclusion for all trick-or-treaters on Halloween. It began in Tennessee as a local initiative, but it has since grown to be worldwide! Teal is the designated color for food allergy awareness, and it has been used for food-related medical conditions for over 20 years. Families across the world now participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project by placing a teal pumpkin on their doorstep to show that they offer allergy-free options for children who are trick-or-treating.
1 in 13 children have some sort of food allergy. Whether it’s eggs, fruit, nuts, etc. there is a risk for many children during the Halloween season of exposure to foods they are allergic to. As parents you always do your best to go through their candy ahead of time, but with the Teal Pumpkin Project you have others in the community who are aware of potential food allergies that children can be exposed to during trick-or- treating.*
To participate, just go to your local Target or Wal-Mart and purchase a teal pumpkin. Make it fun and buy a real pumpkin for your kids to paint! You can even add your house to the Teal Pumpkin Project map! This allows families to know which homes will be serving allergy-safe treats!
In recent years we have seen the Teal Pumpkin Project extend to the blue Halloween bucket for kids with autism to carry. This trend began as early as 2018. Social media posts highlighted the blue Halloween buckets to raise awareness for kids with autism. Halloween is a night full of sensory overloading events so carrying the blue bucket is a way to let others knows to be kind and understanding to this child. There are many nonverbal children who participate in trick-or-treating so the blue bucket is a great way to let home owners know that the child won’t say, “trick-or-treat!”
While these two causes might be for different things, they truly do go hand in hand. Many children that we see with autism also have some type of food allergy or sensitivity. Both of these great causes are to help raise awareness and promote inclusion for all! So, this Halloween, remember to be kind to all, blue bucket or not!
We encourage you to make this Halloween sensory friendly for all! We know it’s hard to say no to the delicious Reese’s and Snickers so consider having separate buckets for children to choose from! This allows children/parents to pick what is best for them. Some peanut free candies we love are Smarties, Skittles, Starburst, Rice Krispies, Junior Mints, and Fun Dip! Another great option is to give out something other than candy. This could be pencils, erasers, or even little fidget toys. Oriental Trading offers tons of fun Halloween goodies you can hand out instead of candy!
Halloween is one of PediaPlex’s favorite holidays! This year we will be having themed dress-up days October 25th-29th for our staff and clients. If you’re attending a session during this time, be sure to dress-up with us! (Will insert the image of dress-up days here). Be sure to follow us on Facebook to see all of the fun costumes as well!
-The PediaPlex Family
*We highly encourage you to double check all items your child receives while trick-or-treating.