With Halloween right around the corner I wanted to take the opportunity to write about the teal pumpkin project. Many of you might be wondering what is with the teal pumpkin and why are people so against candy, it is Halloween after all. Well for today I am going to put aside my personal objections to candy and just focus on why the teal pumpkin project is so important.
The teal pumpkin project was launched by Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) in 2014. Its purpose is to raise awareness of food allergies and help all children be included in Halloween trick or treating.
As the parent of two amazing boys without any food allergies I consider myself blessed and overjoyed. This is not the case for every parent. About 1 in every 13 children suffer from food allergies, some life threatening. These children are constantly excluded from festivities that our children take for granted, like Halloween. To my surprise I have witnessed parents aggravation towards parents with children that suffer from deadly food allergies. And I ask myself, why? Wouldn’t you a become a crusader if your child was in constant danger from something as insignificant as a peanut? Wouldn’t you move every mountain to keep your child safe?
If you take your child out trick or treating you know how fun it can be. You know that look in their eyes, that look of joy and celebration. You know that ear to ear smile when they are counting their treats safely at home. Now imagine if your child could not do any of this, because touching one piece of candy with even a trace of peanut could take his life. This Halloween I invite you to put yourself in the shoes of someone walking a much more complex road. This year you have the opportunity to include these children by offering non-food treats to trick or treaters.
So what can you do? Paint a pumpkin teal and place it by your door and get some non-food treats. You don’t have to spend a lot of money, it is not about what you are handing out it is about having all kids be able to join on the fun. Think glow sticks, stickers, spider rings or use that old change jar for a noble cause. That way children with food allergies can be included in this fun tradition. The more teal pumpkins out there, the more fun!
Putting out a teal pumpkin is not only kind but will teach your children about compassion and empathy. Paint the pumpkin with your kids and explain why you are doing it. It’s a simple project that can turn into a lovely tradition.
This Halloween lets build some safe lasting memories with our kids, and lets help make this possible for those who face the challenge of a food allergy.
Be safe, have fun and be kind. Hope to see lots of teal pumpkins out there when we go trick or treating!
For more information on food allergies and the teal pumpkin project click here.