Food allergies are tough. I say this as a mom of two kids with food allergies and a person who has dealt with food allergies my whole life. I personally don’t expect people to accommodate our allergies because I know it can be confusing and a lot of work, but I always am so incredibly thankful when someone goes out of their way to include my kids. That’s why the Teal Pumpkin Project means so much to me. While both of my kids understand and accept their allergies (as much as a 3-year-old can) it is still emotional for them to not be able to participate or be “like other kids” sometimes. As much as I plan ahead, try to make matching treats, trade unsafe items for safe, etc. things happen.
It is that time of year for Halloween and Trunk or Treat type activities so I have created a quick round up of information and resources that I hope you will find helpful in including kids affected by food allergies in your celebrations!
What It Is
The Teal Pumpkin Project is basically providing non-food treats. These items should be kept in a separate container and never mixed with candy or food treats to prevent cross-contamination especially for those with peanut allergies.
Learn more about FARE’s Teal Pumpkin Project!
Everyone wants to be included and for many families, Fall Festivals and Halloween are important childhood events. For some parents, Halloween can be a stressful dance with an allergen that could be deadly.
I am thrilled that the Teal Pumpkin Project has become more popular, well known and teal pumpkins are also easier to find!
I want to make it easy for those who want to participate and those who may not be familiar with the world of food allergies so below is a round-up of some great resources.
How to Participate
First off you need teal pumpkins! You can go full-on crafty and spray paint your own, but thankfully the project is gaining enough awareness that it is easier to find them. I found one at Walmart, another at Target and I hear some of the craft stores have them as well! Both Walmart and Target had plastic teal buckets for $1.00.
Now you need to fill them! Ideas for non-food treats – some of my kid’s favorites include:
- glow sticks
- sticky hands
- squishy or bouncy balls
- army type men
FARE has a great list here of non-food treats.
FARE’s free resources including signs are also helpful if you want to participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project.
Allergy Friendly Candy
I also encourage people to have more allergy friendly treats on hand vs. the usual mix that has peanut butter.
My children’s allergies include gluten, dairy and rice so I will list a few of my favorites but since I do not have a child with peanut allergies I will provide some links to those who are a better resource (I can pick out peanut free but unfamiliar with shared lines, what has cross contamination, etc.)
- Allergy friendly candy
- Gluten free candy, from Celiac.org has a downloadable list!
- Peanut & Tree nut free candy
- Dairy free candy
As always, things constantly change, production lines change, new products that might not be allergen friendly are added. But if you chose more allergen friendly candy and treats then the parents can review their little trick or treaters bag and weed out anything that isn’t safe, but by making the choices above you have given them a chance to be included and I guarantee they will be so appreciative.