teal pumpkin If you see a house with a teal pumpkin in front of it when you’re out with your kids this Halloween, give that homeowner a high-five. They’re making it a point to include kids with food allergies in on the trick-or-treating fun during this candy-filled holiday.

The Seriousness Of Food Allergies

Food allergies are a serious subject. It’s estimated more than 15 million Americans (6 million of them children) are affected by them. Dealing with food allergies can mean disruption to daily life and changing the way you celebrate holidays (so many are focused on food!).  Case in point, several of the 8 most common foods & food groups that can cause serious reactions are found in Halloween candy. Think: milk, wheat, peanuts, eggs, soy and tree nuts (also fish and crustacean shellfish, but you probably don’t have to worry about the neighbors handing out fish-sticks tonight).

What’s The Deal With The Teal Pumpkins?

The Teal Pumpkin Project is a campaign started by FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education) to promote safety, community and inclusion for children with food allergies. If you see a teal pumpkin (or a handy poster) outside someone’s home tonight, it means they’re offering non-food treats for kids with allergies in addition to candy . What exactly is a non-food treat? Here are a few ideas: glow sticks or bracelets (kids and parents love these for the added safety they bring while walking along dark roads), stickers and pencils. Don’t break the bank with a full size toy, a little trinket will do the trick. I’m handing out spider rings in all sorts of colors and they were only 74 cents a pop! It’s important to mention there are a handful of non-food items that can still cause allergic reactions, like Play-Doh (made with wheat) and anything made from latex (balloons), so avoid those if you can.

Hats off to FARE for going the extra mile to not only create awareness, but creating a  new, long-lasting, novel solution. This is the beginning of us doing an even better job of taking care of children with special medical needs, even during celebrations.

For more information on the Teal Pumpkin Project (and to see the one I’ll have on my doorstep tonight) check out yesterday’s segment with KING 5.