For some kids, what’s scary about Halloween has less to do with the tricks and everything to do with the treats.
Allergies to peanuts, milk, eggs and other ingredients often found in candy can make trick-or-treating downright dangerous for some kids.
But there’s help on the way: the teal pumpkin. If you see one, it means that that’s a “safe house” where everyone can ring the doorbell without worrying about the treats they will receive.
The Teal Pumpkin Project was started last year by the Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) organization to raise awareness and promote the inclusion of children with food allergies in Halloween celebrations. (Researchers estimate that up to 15 million Americans have food allergies, which translates to one in every 13 children.)
The national campaign invites people to pledge to offer nonfood treats such as stickers, glow-sticks, vampire teeth, bouncy balls or spider rings. You can let others know your home is a safe location for children with allergies by placing a teal pumpkin on your steps or in your yard, or by hanging a sign, printed for free from the foodallergy.org website.
Why teal? Veronica LaFemina, FARE’s vice president of communications, said it was a natural choice because it’s the color for food allergy awareness.
Local parenting blogger Missy Berggren (marketingmama.com) often writes of the challenges faced by families with allergies, especially during holiday celebrations. She says some families avoid trick-or-treating altogether, while others trade unsafe candy with a safe stash from home or go only to predetermined stops such as the homes of friends and relatives.
Of course, having to paint your pumpkin involves a little extra work, but it also gives you the chance to impress your Halloween visitors with your jack-o’-lantern creativity.
And then you can let them try to scare you with their spooky costumes. That’s the ultimate treat. □