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Posted in Food Allergens,Food Safety on October 15, 2018
Witches, cats, and Halloween bats; all staples to this Fall Holiday. But, there’s a new breakout tradition. It’s the color Teal. I know what you’re thinking, “No, Orange and Black or nothing at all.” I get it, but hear me out. The color teal is meant to catch the eye of some very important people on All Hallows Eve. Visualize this: Teal Pumpkins. This Halloween trend is not meant to blend into the background of your trick or treat décor. It’s a beacon of fun for trick or treaters that have been neglected in the past.
A Teal painted pumpkin is meant to signal kids with food allergies. It hollers, “I’ve got options, so you can take part in the festivities too.” For that kid, it’s a chance to turn an issue into an opportunity. Let’s try to walk a mile in a trick-or-treaters shoes and see what Halloween might feel like to have food allergies.
So, you are approximately six-years-old. You’ve spent all September sifting through your Halloween costume options. There’s a lot of choices out there, and you only get one chance to be whoever we want. If you don’t get this right, you’ll have to wait another whole year! Do you want to have a cape and save the day? What about a crown? Maybe, you want to be our favorite animal? Or, it might just be fun to play the bad guy and chase your friends down the street. This time, you’re going to have the best costume, fill up that treat bag, and remember this night forever.
You’ve made your choice. Your family helped put each piece together and now you’re standing in the mirror, staring at the legend you’ve become, even if it’s just for tonight. It’s just the start of this party, because you still get to present yourself to your friends. You get to run amuck, ring doorbells, and earn treats from all your neighbors. All for saying one magical line, “Trick or Treat.”
There’s nothing like Halloween. You’re invincible. You don’t just get to wear your costume, you get to be your costume, and you’ll be celebrated for it. Well, if you put in the leg work. You’ve got your pillowcase ready to be filled, and a heart singing with happiness.
Sounds great, right?
Now, let’s talk about the wrench in the gears. Let’s say you suffer from food allergies. Now what? Well, you do what everyone else does. You trick-or-treat, but for you there’s something else going on inside that working mind. For a child with food allergies, a treat dropped into your bag, is also something your parents will probably have to toss into the garbage. With each door opening, you’re hoping to see something that you can keep. I’m willing to bet, you most likely won’t.
The other kids are filling up their bags, but for you its not about quantity. It’s about hopes.
And, that’s why the Teal pumpkin project exists.
The Teal Pumpkin Project was created so children can celebrate Halloween just like everyone else, with excitement and unfiltered fun. So, if you want your door to be an option for all those thrilled munchkins, here’s what to do:
If you really want to delve in further, you can also participate in the Teal Pumpkin project adding your home to an online map. Here you can feature your pumpkin, regale your support stories, and enhance the spooky spirit of Halloween.
The Teal Pumpkins map helps those adventurous tykes create a route and follow it like a treasure map. I’m thinking of a few kids who’d love to play pirate and scour for prizes.
But, wait, there’s more pros to this whole extravaganza. A well-planned route increases a child’s safety. As a parent, you’ll be able to manage their fun, and guide them where you think is appropriate. There’s some food, err, toy, for thought.
It works too. The Teal Pumpkin project is growing. If you haven’t checked out the map, here’s a number for you: 18,000, and that was just in 2017. So, why are so many houses participating? It’s because one in 13 children have food allergies. Imagine all those allergy-ridden kids’ smiling faces when you drop a treat that they can keep.
The Teal pumpkin project doesn’t just stop at alternative treat options though. This campaign boasts various events, making more than one way to brighten a kid’s day. Host a fundraiser, donate, and spread the word to make each neighborhood safe for kids.
Now, back to the color Teal. Teal is the color of food allergy awareness, and it stands out against all the oranges and blacks of Halloween. That Jack-oh-Lantern with a Teal suit won’t easily be missed. In fact, the style is a new way to boast your artistry. Whether you keep your Teal pumpkin a classic all-over color or dazzle steady-hand skills, the kids know what it means, and they’re looking forward to it.
If you need a few ideas for your allergy-free treats, your imagination is the limit. Pinterest-artisans make handcrafted keepsakes, others look more towards quantity and low price. Here’s a few ideas to get you going that you can find for cheap:
Generally, non-food items are a safer bet for allergy-sufferers; but, Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) also suggests avoiding latex items, as well as crafts that contain wheat, such as some moldable clay.
By the way, this doesn’t mean you can’t pass out candy. Keep special non-food surprises in a separate bowl AND have a bevy of candies ready to go. FARE provides signs on their website that you can print to let kids know you provide options, or you can make your own to coincide with your carefully plotted haunted house aesthetics.
There’s a lot of kids out there who want to celebrate with the rest of us. A Teal Pumpkin on your lawn might just makes someone’s holiday better. While you’re thinking about it, Fare has a lot of goodies for adults too. Check out the Teal Pumpkin Project Home Essentials Kit, or the activities list to get your kid excited for the Teal Pumpkin onslaught.
Don’t get spooky with allergies, make foods safe.
By: Heaven Bassett, Contributing Writer (Non-Lawyer)