Halloween. It’s about dressing up in nutty costumes and making haunted houses and scaring the daylights out of your neighborhood kids. It’s picture-perfect moments with your cute little Storm Troopers and Wonder Women.
But if you’re a kid, Halloween is all about the C-A-N-D-Y. It’s the one night a year you get so much, you don’t know what to do with it. It’s living your chocolate dream for one, amazing, sugar-filled night before that sweet goodness is rationed for the next six months while it sits in your candy bucket on top of the refrigerator.
But for one second, imagine your kid can’t eat that candy. That candy will make him sick. Worse, it could kill her. It’s the best part of Halloween, and they have to give it all up while everyone else pigs out with caramel dangling off their chins. You know how bad it sucks when you’re pregnant and you can’t have a margarita with your friends? Well, take that feeling and magnify it tenfold, because you’re dealing with threenagers here.
Yeah, kids with food allergies have it pretty rough on Halloween.
That’s why The Teal Pumpkin Project is important. The goal is to encourage households like yours and mine to offer non-food treats on Halloween, designated by placing a teal pumpkin in front of your house. That way, every child gets to participate and come home with fun treats or prizes they can enjoy, without, you know, threatening their lives.
So is this really a big deal? Do that many kids have food allergies? You bet. According to Food Allergy Research & Education, one in 13 kids has a food allergy, and that number is growing. Food allergies in children in the U.S. have doubled since 1997, and specifically allergies to peanut have more than tripled in that same timeframe. Considering that many of the top food allergens like milk, peanuts, eggs, wheat and soy are found in pretty much all the popular candy. And given inconsistent ingredients and labels that don’t exist on fun-sized candy, it’s pretty much impossible for parents to safely judge what candy is safe for their child.
My 3-year-old son is pretty stoked to go trick-or-treating this year. It’s the first year he’s old enough to understand the concept. I’m grateful that the Teal Pumpkin Project can point us to homes offering non-food treats so he can have a great night and never know the sting of missing out. Our little police man is going to have a sweet night even though he has allergies, and that makes my heart happy.
Ok, maybe I’ve convinced you and, fine: You’ll participate! But how? Super simple. Pick up a few non-food items, and keep them in a separate bowl from your other Halloween candy. Print out a flyer or ask kids if they want a prize or a treat when they ring your bell. And don’t forget the teal pumpkin so families know you support their child living with food allergies!
For more information on the Teal Pumpkin Project, visit online. There’s lots of great information and resources including handouts, activities and more to help spread the word!
About Amy Demuth:
Born and raised in Sparks, Amy said goodbye to her full-time public relations gig to be full-time mom of two boys. With a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old, she’s currently building a blanket fort or yelling “share with your brother!” or maybe even playing with toy trucks in the dirt. Amy and her husband love taking the family to enjoy the outdoors where you might find them camping or at the lake on any given weekend.