Halloween will be here in less than a week and in the rush to grab some last minute costumes or decorations, you may have passed a teal pumpkin or two on the shelves.
These pumpkins are not a figment of your imagination nor are they a mistake by a manufacturer. They are part of the Teal Pumpkin Project, a world-wide movement to promote food allergy awareness and promote non-food treats for all children during the Halloween season.
By having a teal pumpkin on your doorstep or a sign promoting the project, you are advising trick-or-treaters that you will be providing a non-food item. Some households who have participated in the past only give out non-food items, while other households give out candy as well as non-food treats.
Remember, if you do decide to give out both candy and non-food treats, keep the non-food treats completely separate from the candy to prevent cross-contamination. As someone who suffers from food allergies, I know first-hand the effects of cross-contamination. Even if I do not ingest the actual food, I sometimes will still break out into a rash or hives by simply touching the candy packaging because of residue.
To further prevent cross-contamination, it may be a good idea to have those children choosing the non-food items pick those items themselves. And what are these non-food items you may be asking?
A few fun ideas are stickers, glow-in-the-dark jewelry or glow sticks, small coloring books, small toys that you could purchase at your local dollar store, and things of that nature.
For more ideas and more detailed information about the Teal Pumpkin Project please visit the Food Allergy Research Education’s website.
There are also a great deal of allergy friendly companies like Vermont Nut Free, Pascha Chocolates, Enjoy Life Foods, or Divvies to name a few, that provide safe snacks for those with certain food allergies every day.
Additionally, if you visit snacksafely.com, you can find an updated guide for allergy-friendly snacks which could also be used when purchasing school snacks throughout the year.
Halloween should be about more than just getting candy. It is a time to get creative! Have fun making and putting together costumes. Maybe the kids could get a visit from “The Switch Witch”. Or, maybe, you could host a Halloween movie marathon and a spooky story competition. Whatever you decide, make sure to enjoy time with family and friends and make new traditions. Have a fun and safe Halloween!