To some, this is just a pretty colored pumpkin.
But to others, it is a sign of comfort and relief, as it means that our child hasn’t been forgotten.
Every child wants to feel included on Halloween and the Teal Pumpkin Project gives children the chance to safely participate in Halloween traditions like trick-or-treating.
Whether your child has a special diet, food allergies, intolerances, or other health concerns, every parent is relieved to see the teal pumpkin and know that there are safe options available for their family.
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Since having children, Halloween has filled my mama heart with anxiety and worry.
Due to health reasons and wanting to instill healthy eating habits, we chose not to give our first daughter any candy. When our second daughter was born, we discovered that she has a nut allergy, which makes it even more important for us to find safe options for our family.
As impossible as it seems, there is a way to avoid all of the sugary treats associated with Halloween. The Teal Pumpkin Project gives parents of children with food allergies and special diets hope.
What is the Teal Pumpkin Project
The Teal Pumpkin Project is a movement to raise awareness of food allergies and to create a safe, inclusive Halloween experience for everyone who trick-or-treats.
When you think of Halloween, you probably think of sugary treats like candy. However, I’ve found that most kids actually love receiving non-food items on Halloween as well. Unlike candy, they have a purpose, last longer, and won’t give you the dreaded belly ache. Sugar is also very harmful to our health. It increases the risk of diabetes, is a leading cause of tooth decay, and weakens our immune response. Having non-food items available on Halloween is truly beneficial to every child.
According to FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education), children who have the following various conditions can especially benefit from non-food items.
-Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE)
-Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome (FPIES)
-Children with feeding tubes
-Any child on a special diet
How You Can Participate
Participating in creating a safe and joyous Halloween for all children, is as easy as 1, 2, 3.
1- Purchase non-food items like those on the list below. The best part is that many of them are more cost-effective than buying candy!
*As a precaution, it’s a safe practice to keep food and non-food items in separate bowls or containers. We like this one that lights up.
2- Let others know that you have safe treats available. You can do this by displaying a teal pumpkin somewhere for trick-or-treaters to see.
3- Spread the word! Tell your friends, family, and neighbors that you are participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project and be sure to add your house to the Teal Pumpkin Project Map.
Teal Pumpkins For Your Home
Grab a paintbrush and paint this ceramic pumpkin or decorate one of your real pumpkins with teal paint. You can also use teal spray paint (it will go much faster).
This small yard flag can easily be displayed on your lawn to let those walking by know you have allergy-friendly goodies. You can even buy a yard light to ensure that those walking by see it if it’s dark out.
This is a cute and simple teal pumpkin that you can set on your porch.
You can print off your FREE Teal Pumpkin Printable Here. Tape it in your window or on your front door for visitors to see. It’s also perfect for taping on your car windows if you are participating in a trunk-or-treat.
Fun Non-Food Items For Halloween
In case you are looking for fun, non-food ideas, this list is full of goodies that all of your trick or treaters are sure to enjoy.
Wikki Sticks are fun and engaging. These Halloween themed ones are perfect for trick-or-treaters.
Brain teaser puzzles are great for keeping kids entertained, increase focus and attention and build confidence.
These mini flashlight keychains are perfect for trick-or-treaters.
Glow in the dark Halloween themed bouncy balls are always a hit.
This 100 pack of spooky, Halloween mini erasers will make erasing fun.
Kids will enjoy creating faces with these Halloween sticker sheets.
What’s not to love about these glow sticks with bats and spiders inside?!
If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, this pack of 100 glow stick necklaces and bracelets is a great price.
This 50 pack of Halloween stamps comes with 25 different designs.
These magic scratch art leaves are perfect for Halloween and can be used as decorations through Thanksgiving.
This pack of 48 Halloween theme scratch art includes pumpkins, witch hats, bats, haunted houses, cats, and more.
These mini Halloween coloring and activity books are a perfect replacement for candy treats.
Book lovers will enjoy coloring their own bookmarks with this pack of 50.
Bubble wands are a favorite in our house and are perfect for young trick-or-treaters.
These assorted slap bracelets have fun designs and children can enjoy wearing them all year long.
These Halloween mini springs are fun, colorful, and a great value.
This pack of 192 temporary tattoos even glows in the dark.
Halloween theme character necklaces will make a festive addition to costumes.
Trick-or-treaters young and old will enjoy these festive Halloween pens.
50 Halloween rings that flash and light up are sure to bring joy to your trick-or-treaters.
What kid doesn’t love slime that makes squeaking and farting noises?! This 48 pack of noise putty is also a great stress reliever.
Kids will love playing with these Halloween airplane gliders.
Halloween themed pencils and spiral notebooks are practical for kids of all ages.
This 10 pack of Halloween theme beaded bracelets glow in the dark.
There are 300 pieces in this budget-friendly set of pencils, erasers, stamps, and stickers.
Here’s another set that includes 336 novelty items, including rubber ducks, erasers, glitter tattoos, stickers, pencils, and stamps.
Gift Certificates are also a great non-food option to give away on Halloween.
Don’t forget to grab a teal pumpkin bucket to put all of your allergy-friendly Halloween treats in.
Trick-or-Treat Ideas for Families with Food Allergies & Special Diets
Over the past few years, these are the ideas that we have implemented to keep our family safe on Halloween.
1- Pack Your Own Snacks
Kids get hungry, especially after seeing all of the candy and treats that are handed out. You can satisfy them by packing a few of your child’s favorite snacks to safely enjoy while you are out trick-or-treating.
2- Visit Friends and Family
Growing up, we lived in the country and would spend the day trick-or-treating at relative’s houses. We have carried on this tradition now that we have children of our own. It’s great visiting with grandparents and they enjoy seeing the little ones dressed up.
The best part is that almost everyone knows about our special diets and they have healthy foods like apples and bananas as well as non-food items like coloring books and stickers to give our kids.
3- Trunk-or-Treat & Business Trick-or-Treating
Businesses, libraries, and churches often participate in community trick-or-treating. I’ve found that these special programs often have non-food options available for participants. It’s also a safer option versus going door to door.
4- Look For The Teal Pumpkin
If the traditional door to door trick-or-treating is something you want to participate in, keep your eyes peeled for the teal pumpkin. More and more people are offering safe options for children and displaying a teal pumpkin to let parents know.
5- Use Social Media
Many communities have Facebook pages. You can use social media to ask if anyone has any non-food items or healthy snacks available for trick-or-treaters. This way you will know exactly where to go and can plan your route accordingly.
6- Teal Pumpkin Project Map Website
You can check for homes near you with the Teal Pumpkin Project Map. I used this last year but there weren’t very many homes listed. I’m hopeful that as the word gets out, more people will get involved.
7- Switch Witch
We play switch witch in our house. I’ve talked to parents who actually have their child leave their bucket of candy out for the witch to take (kind of like the Easter bunny). She takes the candy and fills the bucket with other items instead.
This isn’t how we play switch witch in our home. Instead, we explain what candy is and how it affects our bodies. Together, we switch out the candy for some of their favorite things.
Pouches, bars, freeze-dried fruit, and melties are a few of their current favorite treats. I also get them non-food items like a new book, art supplies, stickers, and a small toy that they can pick out.
So far, this has worked well for us and there haven’t been any issues.
If your child isn’t allergic, you can have them count and sort the candy into groups for a little math lesson before switching it out. You can even practice making patterns with your child if they have multiples.
8- Teal Trick-or-Treat Bags
Traditional trick-or-treat bags are Halloween colors like orange and black. These teal pumpkin buckets are a great way to let others know that your child has a food allergy. They have also been a great conversation starter when others comment on what a pretty color the pumpkins are. We also love these canvas bags. They are bigger and great for full-size coloring books. These teal buckets are perfect for trick-or-treating at night because they light up.
This Halloween, please help spread the word and share the Teal Pumpkin Project with your family, friends, and neighbors. It brings hope and comfort knowing that all children can have a safe, fun, and positive experience on Halloween.
Love & Blessings,