Allergies, Holidays

Teal Pumpkins, Allergy Awareness, and a Safe Halloween

It’s the big week! Are you set for Halloween? I hope so and I hope you’re going teal if you’re handing out goodies!

Teal pumpkins for food allergies

I’m hoping to see a lot of teal pumpkins this year while we’re trick-r-treating. Teal pumpkins mean that the house we’re visiting has allergy-safe (non-food) treats. It’s a project that was started by FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education) and I think it’s slowly starting to gain some ground as awareness spreads.

Some quick thoughts if you’re on the fence about offering something safe for allergy kids:

/// It’s not just nuts that trip kids up, so non-food is really the way to go. If you add up all the food allergies these days, 1 in 13 kids is affected. So, if you get 200 trick-r-treaters, that’s about 16 kids whose parents are a little stressed out on National-Give-My-Kid-Food night.

/// You don’t have to offer a non-food treat to everyone. Having a teal pumpkin just means that you have an option the kids can ask for. So, if you’re worried about the cost, having about 30 non-food things on hand in addition to candy is still a huge help for those families.

/// Non-food treats don’t have to be expensive. Here are some ideas for things we handed out last year:

/// You don’t actually have to paint a teal pumpkin if you don’t want to (although I think they’re a fun pop of color and I’ve seen people do pretty amazing things with a little bling). FARE has provided downloadable signs that you can put on your porch either to say that you are doing non-food treats only or that you have non-food treats on hand if the visitors don’t want the candy you’re giving out.

teal pumpkin project posters

One last thing – we had a new situation come up this year that I had never thought about, so I’m sharing it in case you’re in the same situation. Eva visited a little Halloween party with a kid-made spook alley run by a few older girls. I didn’t go with her, so when I asked about it later she told me that she was really scared but she tried to be brave. Makes sense for a four year old, right? I asked if the girls were trying to scare her, protective-mama-visions of mean big kids filling my head, but she said they were all very nice and encouraging. However, there was pasta all over the floor (probably as pretend entrails) and bowls of food that she was supposed to stick her hand into full of goopy mysterious who knows what.

She wasn’t scared by the ghosts and creepy things. She was scared because she didn’t know what she was touching and Eva’s not supposed to do that…especially with food.

She was fine, but I realized I never would have thought about that before having an allergy kid! I swear, Halloween really is the scariest holiday and it makes me sad that Eva is so busy being truly scared of going to the hospital that she doesn’t notice she’s supposed to be scared of the witches and goblins and ghouls. Right now, she’s a little on the fence about going trick-r-treating at all, but we have a system set up where her cousin grabs the candy for her and puts it in her bucket and then we empty her bucket and pay her for each piece of candy since even safe options become unsafe if they touch wrapped candies that contain nuts.

Here’s hoping we see some teal pumpkins to make her feel a little safer.

Non-food allergy safe treats for Halloween

PS – A quick shoutout to the Utah Food Allergy Network for hosting the allergy-safe non-food trunk-r-treat last weekend. It’s the best part of the holiday for us and the kids had a blast collecting treats, playing games, and participating in the costume parade. It’s really such a relief to be somewhere where we don’t have to be so on our guard for a couple of hours! I even chatted with a couple of parents who don’t let their kids participate on Halloween night (allergies more severe than Eva’s, if you can imagine) so this event is their one big holiday party. I gave out just over 200 treats, so that’s a lot of kids who will be looking for those teal pumpkins on Saturday!


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