Frequently Asked Questions
- What’s the Teal Pumpkin Project™?
- What do I do if I want to participate?
- I don’t have time to paint a pumpkin teal, what do I do?
- Why teal?
- I didn’t know this was a problem. Why is Halloween a challenge for families managing food allergies?
- Are you taking away the traditional aspect of collecting candy on Halloween?
- Do kids with life-threatening food allergies actually trick-or-treat?
- Are there any non-food treats that I should avoid?
- Can I still pass out candy?
- If I’m handing out candy and non-food treats, how do I determine which treat to give to each trick-or-treater?
- Do kids really like non-food treats?
- How do I know which houses in my area are participating?
- How do I get my neighbors involved?
What’s the Teal Pumpkin Project™?
The Teal Pumpkin Project™ encourages people to raise awareness of food allergies and promote inclusion of all trick-or-treaters throughout the Halloween season. You can participate by:
- Pledging to support the Teal Pumpkin Project™ on FARE’s website
- Providing non-food treats for trick-or-treaters and
- Painting a pumpkin teal – the color of food allergy awareness – to place in front of your home, along with a free printable sign from FARE, to indicate you have non-food treats available
Halloween can be a tricky time for families managing food allergies because many traditional Halloween treats aren’t safe for children with life-threatening food allergies. The Teal Pumpkin Project™ is designed to promote safety, inclusion and respect of individuals managing food allergies. This nationwide movement offers an alternative for kids with food allergies, as well as other children for whom candy is not an option, and keeps Halloween a fun, positive experience for all!
The Teal Pumpkin Project™ was inspired by a local awareness activity run by the Food Allergy Community of East Tennessee (FACET). FARE thanks FACET for their ongoing partnership and support as we work to reach families across the country and around the world with the Teal Pumpkin Project’s messages of awareness, inclusion and community.
What do I do if I want to participate?
Participating is simple – sign our pledge, pick up some inexpensive toys, and place a teal pumpkin and/or a free printable sign from FARE outside your home to show that you have non-food treats to hand out. Supporting the Teal Pumpkin Project™ is a simple gesture that can have a big impact.
You can also download FARE’s promotional flyer to circulate in your local community so that your neighbors can take part too!
Do you want to help spread the Teal Pumpkin Project’s messages of a safer, happier Halloween for all even further? You can support FARE and the Teal Pumpkin Project™ in a variety of ways:
I don’t have time to paint a pumpkin teal, what do I do?
Simple – just sign our pledge and then print out a free sign from our website to post on your door!
Teal is the color of food allergy awareness and has been used to raise awareness about this serious medical condition for nearly 20 years.
I didn’t know this was a problem. Why is Halloween a challenge for families managing food allergies?
Food allergies are a life-altering and potentially life-threatening disease, 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.
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.
Non-food treats provide a safe, fun alternative for children with food allergies and for other children, such as those with diabetes or celiac disease, for whom candy may present a problem.
Are you taking away the traditional aspect of collecting candy on Halloween?
It is not our goal to exclude candy from the Halloween tradition. By encouraging households to provide non-food treats, our goal is simply to ensure that children with food allergies – and other children for whom candy is not an option – are able to enjoy a safer, happier Halloween. Trick-or-treaters typically receive pounds of candies and chocolates, and we’re sure they will continue to collect plenty of candy. Many kids, whether they have food allergies or not, enjoy the experience of receiving little toys and other fun items that they can keep.
Do kids with life-threatening food allergies actually trick-or-treat?
Yes! Who wouldn’t want to take part in such a fun tradition shared with friends, classmates and family? Many kids with food allergies go out to trick-or-treat just like their friends, but they have come to understand that a lot of their fun will come from dressing up in a costume. They know they’ll give much of their candy away because it’s not safe for them. We hope the Teal Pumpkin Project™ becomes a tradition for years to come so that kids will know that when they knock on someone’s door that has a teal pumpkin, they’ll have a treat they can fully enjoy.
Are there any non-food treats that I should avoid?
There are a few considerations when choosing which non-food items to hand out. First, some non-food items still contain food allergens, such as some brands of moldable clay, which may contain wheat. Additionally, try to choose latex-free items, as there are children who have latex allergies.
Can I still pass out candy?
Sure – just do it safely! The point of the Teal Pumpkin Project™ is to make trick-or-treating as inclusive as possible. You can keep the experience safe by keeping your food treats and non-food treats in separate bowls.
If I’m handing out candy and non-food treats, how do I determine which treat to give to each trick-or-treater?
You can either ask trick-or-treaters if they have any food allergies, or give every visitor a choice of which treat they’d like: candy or a non-food item.
Do kids really like non-food treats?
They don’t just like them, they love them! Finding a unique treat at your house will be a fun surprise. Glow bracelets, for example, are a great option. They are inexpensive, kids can wear them throughout the night, and parents are appreciative because they help make kids more visible after nightfall. Other non-food items, such as pencils and stickers, can be used at home and at school long after candy has run out or expired.
How do I know which houses in my area are participating?
FARE is providing a crowd-sourced map that allows people participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project™ to add their home address, street or neighborhood. Adding your household to the map shows your support and allows you to connect with other families in your area who are participating.
How do I get my neighbors involved?
Getting your community involved is easy!
- Ask your friends and neighbors to pledge their support for the Teal Pumpkin Project™ on FARE’s website.
- Host a fundraiser and ask your friends and neighbors to participate.
- Print out FARE’s flyers and hand them out to your friends and neighbors.
- If you have a neighborhood email listserv, send out an email about the initiative, including a link to FARE’s website (www.foodallergy.org).
- Reach out to your local library, dentist/doctor offices, schools, or community buildings to see if they would be willing to help you post signs or get the word out.
- Share information on social media, and post a picture of your teal pumpkins when you have them near your door! Don’t forget to use #tealpumpkinproject when you post!
The TEAL PUMPKIN PROJECT and the Teal Pumpkin Image are trademarks of Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE).