Halloween can be a tricky time for families managing food allergies, celiac disease and other conditions. Many traditional Halloween treats aren’t safe for children with life-threatening food allergies. Food allergies are a life-altering and potentially life-threatening and a growing public health issue. In the U.S., one in 13 children has a food allergy – that’s roughly two in every classroom. For these children, even a tiny amount of their allergen has the potential to cause a severe reaction. The Teal Pumpkin Project is an initiative from FARE – Food Allergy Research & Education promoting safety, inclusion, and respect of individuals managing food allergies as well as other children for whom candy is not an option.
Virtually any food can cause a reaction. Many popular Halloween candies contain nuts, milk, egg, soy or wheat, which are some of the most common allergens in children and adults. Additionally, many miniature or fun-size versions of candy items contain different ingredients than their full-size counterparts and some miniature candy items may not have labels, so it is difficult for parents to determine whether these items are safe for their child with food allergies.
Participating is simple. Pick up some inexpensive toys, and place a teal pumpkin outside your home to show that you have non-food treats to hand out. If you do not have time to paint a pumpkin teal, there are some other resources from FARE, the Food Allergy Research and Education organization such as free flyers that you can print and put at your door.
Supporting the Teal Pumpkin Project is a simple gesture that can have a big impact.
The goal is not to exclude candy from the Halloween tradition, it is to affirm an enjoyable, safer, happier Halloween for all.
For more help, check out the following resources: