When you worry your child might have a severe allergic reaction to something they eat, it can take a lot of work to keep them safe when you travel. But when Halloween arrives, it can be tough to keep kids with allergies safe even at home. Trick or treating can give rise to cries of “It’s so unfair!” when kids come home with a bag full of candy that isn’t safe for them to eat. The Teal Pumpkin Project is working to make Halloween safe for all kids, even those with severe food allergies.

Avoid an Allergic Reaction

The Teal Pumpkin Project works to make Halloween safe for kids who might have a severe allergic reaction to candy. Just about everything causes us anxiety when it comes to dealing with my boys’ allergies. Now that Marcus is 5 and in kindergarten, he’s definitely become more aware of the limitations he has when it comes to foods. But when the worry that he could have a severe allergic reaction to food affects his social life, it breaks our hearts to know he only wants to be a normal little boy.

He’s never had a birthday party. We have always opted to take him to Disney, our safe place, but we can’t run there every time even if Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween looks AMAZING!

With his most recent hospitalization, despite all the precautions we took to ensure his safety at school, we are definitely on lock-down. Keeping our son safe and alive has become a daily challenge.

The Halloween Risk

Holidays like Halloween for kids like Marcus are really all about trick or treating and at the root of that… CANDY. Last Halloween, we saw the beginning of what he calls “so unfair!” as his sister got to take all the candy he is allergic to and add it to her already bountiful pile.  As a good big sister, she did share some of her “Marcus-safe” candy — but not all as it’s “so unfair! I like sour patch kids too!”  What’s a parent to say! It is so unfair to both of them.

Last year, Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) launched an amazing campaign called the Teal Pumpkin Project to raise awareness of food allergies and promote inclusion of all trick-or-treaters throughout Halloween. I loved seeing all my friends posts of their Teal Pumpkins. This doesn’t just support a safer, happier Halloween for Marcus but for everyone. This year, the campaign has really picked up momentum with more than 100,000 households including my own, pledging to participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project.

IMG_2072How to Support the Teal Pumpkin Project

  • Paint a pumpkin teal and place it on your front stoop. Acrylic paint works best and can be found at any craft store. You can get real fancy with them too, just google Teal Pumpkin Project ideas or search for the hashtag #tealpumpkinproject in Instagram and see the many amazing TEAL pumpkins.
  • Download a poster from the FARE Teal Pumpkin Project page to show your support to make this Halloween safe!
  • Add your home to their crowd-sourced map and connect with other homes in your area that are participating. You can even find participating households where ever your travels take you!  This year my family is checking out all the Halloween offerings NYC has to offer and I’m comforted knowing we will find safe places for Marcus to trick or treat at.
  • …and stock up on cute non-candy treats!

“The TEAL PUMPKIN PROJECT and the Teal Pumpkin Image are trademarks of Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE).”