Just today I was made aware of a wonderful movement taking off over the country- and I'm really hoping that it catches on more and more every year. It's called The Teal Pumpkin Project. For families who have a child with a severe allergy, holidays like Halloween can be downright frightening. The worry that your child will accidently eat the wrong food and end up having to be rushed to the hospital with a life-threatening allergic reaction is terrifying. Several years ago, my friend's granddaughter was visiting on Halloween. She has severe anaphylactic reactions to certain nuts, soy, and cow's milk, among other things. It was her first year really Trick or Treating, as she was just turned three years old. While our little friend was busy getting dressed in her costume, I ran around to the neighbors we know and gave them candy that was acceptable. We were then able to create a somewhat "normal" Trick or Treat experience for her. It worked for us that year, but it wouldn't work in every circumstance, or for an older child who wanted to go to more than a few doors.
For many children with severe food allergies, not being able to participate in a school carnival, community event, or traditional neighborhood Trick or Treating with their siblings and friends is extremely disappointing. Enter The Teal Pumpkin Project! Anyone can participate. Simply put out a teal pumpkin next to your front door (or print one and post it onto your front door). Then prepare separate, allergy safe treats for any child who needs them. Ideas include stickers, pencils, glow sticks and bracelets, book marks, playing cards, spider rings, Matchbox cars, and coloring books. I wouldn't be me if I didn't include a safety warning against small balls (smaller than a ping pong ball) and other choking hazards for children under the age of three years! But I do hope that you will put a teal colored pumpkin on your doorstep tomorrow, and begin to include children with severe allergies in your family's Halloween holiday traditions!