Halloween is an exciting holiday for kids to go out and trick-or-treat, but for kids with food allergies it can be spooky. The Teal Pumpkin Project works to bring awareness for kids with food allergies by offering non-food treats on Halloween.
Kelly Cleary, the mother of Jack, mentions how frightening Halloween can be for her since Jack is allergic to peanuts, eggs, and shellfish.
“…Ever since my son was very young Halloween was a day that would certainly give me pause unlike some of the other parents, because I knew that he was going up to doors and potentially getting something that had his allergen and it could really, you know hurt him and he could have a life-threatening reaction from that,” Cleary states.
For parents like Cleary, this project can allow their son to go to specific homes, decorated with a teal pumpkin, and know that he is receiving something safe.
To get involved in the Teal Pumpkin Project, you can buy a teal pumpkin or post a flyer on your door to indicate to families you have safe treats. On the night of Halloween, you will place a bowl, in addition to the candy bowl, of toys such as glowsticks or bubbles.
Food allergies affect 1 in 13 children and each holiday can be hard to navigate when someone is allergic to any of the top 8 allergens. But, regardless of the treats at each house, this project is focused on inclusivity.
“He will say wow. They must know someone that has a food allergy because he sees that there’s awareness there. And that is the hugest part of feeling included is just that acknowledgement that Halloween does not look the same for everyone,” Cleary states.
FARE’s website includes an interactive map for families to see which houses are participating on Halloween night.