Disclaimer: I received allergy-friendly Halloween treats from Oriental Trading Co. for free to share in this post about the Teal Pumpkin Project. The thoughts and opinions below are my own.
It’s teal pumpkin time again! The Teal Pumpkin Project is a push for more awareness about how food allergies affect kids. At the heart it’s a movement that’s working toward inclusion for trick-or-treaters but it’s turned into an annual conversation starter and a way to say, “Yes, my kid has food allergies and, yes, you can help.”
The one thing that is a little confusing for people is whether or not the project demands that everyone get rid of their Halloween candy. NO! It’s not about making Halloween food-free. Our family, as an allergy family, gives out non-edible treats only but if your family wanted to participate in the project you can have your regular candy and also keep a small stash of allergy-friendly (non-food) treats for kids who ask for them. To let them know you’re participating, you would put out a teal pumpkin (and probably some kind of signage!) and that would tell trick-or-treaters with food restrictions that it’s OK for them to ask. You can also register your house so trick-or-treaters who are only visiting teal pumpkin houses can find you.
Also, it isn’t more expensive to give out non-food items than it is to give out candy. That is a MYTH and I enlisted the help of Oriental Trading Co. to show you just how affordable (if not MORE affordable) it is to give out non-food treats. Remember that you get the best deals if you shop early and take advantage of promotions and free shipping!
It’s the same sliding scale that you have with traditional treats. One of the classic “economy” treats people give out are those rolls of Smarties because you can get about 60 rolls for $3. In comparison, you can get 144 Halloween Spin Tops for $7, making them nearly the same cost with the added perk that you won’t get the weird ones where the wrapper is open, you won’t end up with a ton of extra candy if you don’t get enough trick-or-treaters (non-food treats can be stored until the next year!!!), and spin tops are practically STEM toys what with all the velocity and balance and gravity and other educational stuff going on there.
If you move a little higher up the investment scale, you can get a bag of fun size chocolate bars. One of the more popular brands has 69 bars for $10 but kids get the fun of having a variety to choose from. They’ll get more variety with the Mega Halloween Novelty Assortment from Oriental Trading (cauldron not included) which offers 250 pieces for $29.98 so you get more for your money, there’s more to choose from, and you can store the extras until the next year. Note – this isn’t the whole assortment. Mama’s gonna need a bigger cauldron.
You can also get one of the assortments that comes with it’s own container. The Halloween Treasure Chest Toy Assortment comes in a little cardboard pirate chest that makes it so much more fun and it’s sturdy enough that I actually pulled the toys out after I took the pictures of the assortment so we could store our family Halloween books in there until the big night comes.
The other reason we see a lot of people choose food items is because of party-type situations where they can be a fun activity. We’ve gotten a few of those gift-labeled candy boxes from school friends over the years and sat out of our share of donut exchanges so I love these little tradeable Halloween Bears because they’d be such a fun to thing to pass out at school and at 48 bears for $6 they’re just as affordable as a stack of peanut butter pumpkins. MUCH more fun for preschoolers and the young grades, in my opinion.
I’ve seen a lot of different options for participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project online and, even though a simple paper sign would be enough, I’ve seen a lot of people paint yard signs or special pumpkins to say that they have allergy-friendly treats. I loved the idea of having something I could use every year but I also wanted something that wasn’t going to be too crazy to do myself so I got a few things at the local craft store and put together this super simple and functional porch display.
It’s just teal paint, some blue glitter glue to give it a little pop, two plain wooden crates, and a wooden jack o’lantern I rescued from a craft kit ($30ish total). I wanted something simple, obvious, and completely clear to anyone who doesn’t happen to live on Pinterest and allergy mom forums like I do.
The best thing about this display is that it doesn’t need to be “on” until it’s actually time for trick-or-treaters but if I flip the bottom crate around, we’re still participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project but also we have some extra protected display room for our pumpkin collection. We’ll be painting some of our live pumpkins as we pull them out of the garden and, of course, carving a bunch up so I anticipate quite the porch showcase this month.
Halloween is scary for allergy families but it’s getting so much better than it was even five years ago! Hooray for awareness and hooray for families who accommodate other people’s kids because you’re the best. Share your work keepin’ it teal with the hashtag #TealPumpkinProject and check out the rest of Oriental Trading Co.’s Halloween novelties and decorations because they have the best selection. I definitely want to give them an air five for partnering with me on this one because it’s so close to my heart.