For kids with food allergies and their parents, trick-or-treating can be the scariest part of Halloween. Many candies contain common allergens like nuts, milk, eggs, soy, and wheat, and all it takes is the tiniest trace to set off a life-threatening reaction. Adding to the horror: the fun-sized versions of these snacks are often packaged without ingredient lists, forcing many families to sit out the Halloween festivities all together. Nonprofit organization Food Allergy Research and Education hopes to change that by encouraging houses to paint their pumpkins teal this year.
The Teal Pumpkin Project aims to raise awareness of food allergies and make Halloween inclusive for the one in 13 American children who are afflicted. Households can join the initiative this Halloween by painting a pumpkin teal and placing it outside their homes, indicating to families with allergies that they are handing out allergen-friendly, non-edible "treats" like small toys. A spokesperson for the initiative recommends stocking up on goodies like glow sticks, bouncy balls, bubbles, spider rings, and stickers as alternatives to candy.
When the project launched in 2014, teal pumpkins were placed outside households in seven countries and all 50 states. In 2015, the number of participating countries doubled. You can take part by signing the online pledge and sharing your pumpkin on social media using the hashtag #tealpumpkinproject.