Halloween can be an especially scary time for parents whose children have food allergies.
The Teal Pumpkin Project aims to eliminate, or at least reduce, the frustration of those who want to go trick or treating but are afraid of coming into contact with life-threatening treats.
The idea is to make a teal-colored pumpkin on the doorstep a universal signal that there are non-food treats available at a home along with traditional treats.
Chatham Township mom Tracy Meyler, whose children Tommy and Mikayla both have tree nut and peanut allergies, is supporting the plan and hopes other people will, too.
Asked the origin of the grass-roots project, Meyler said it is being promoted by “a mom from Tennessee who came up with a nationwide project which raises awareness of food allergies and lets people know the house is also offering a non-food treat. That helps the kids and raises awareness at the same time.”
An advocacy group, Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) is now supporting the idea and “is encouraging families to start a new tradition,” that of painting a pumpkin teal, the color used to designate allergy awareness.
There are posters to put by the door, so people understand what the Teal Pumpkin Project is, fliers which can be handed out to friends and neighbors, which can be printed from the website and suggestions for the non-food treats to have available.
Meyler suggests stickers, stamps, finger puppets, spider rings, necklaces or bracelets — “Just keep it Halloween themed”
“One in 13 children suffer from life threatening food allergies, and the numbers are rising. Paint a pumpkin teal to show awareness for food allergies and to let trick or treaters know that they can pick something that they can keep and not have to trade away! It’s no fun to trade away your whole Halloween bag after all of that walking and ringing!”
FARE offers fliers to display at homes offering non-food Halloween treats as well as the traditional candy. Visit the website FoodAllergy.org to obtain information and promotional materials.