Imagine for a moment, as you prepare your children for Halloween with amazing costumes, fun household decorations, lawn cemeteries or cheerful, welcoming pumpkins and happy, autumn scarecrows, that your child can appreciate Halloween, but only at a distance and at home where you can closely monitor what they eat. They cannot attend any social events, they cannot attend carnivals and they cannot trick-or-treat because one bite of an allergen, and you have to bring out the epi-pen and the fun evening turns into an emergency situation.
What would this national holiday of fun and candy, imagination and silliness become for you and your family if your child could not participate in ANY of the festivities for fear of being exposed to a dangerous allergen that could land them in the hospital? On a night that SHOULD be filled with laughter, screams of tricks and smiles of treats, would you even bother to dress them up? Would you let them go trick-or-treating anyway and then take all their candy away from them? Many parents in this position have chosen to either abandon the holiday altogether, or they call upon the legend of the “Candy Witch” who steals Halloween candy the night of Halloween, but replaces it with a toy.
What if there was a way children could participate just like everyone else? Wouldn’t it be special if they could go out to homes who understood their needs and trick-or-treat like their friends and siblings without having to feel singled out, left out and disappointed?
Since I first heard about it, the Teal Pumpkin Project, created by FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) seemed like a revelation. I love to promote their cause because I believe every child deserves to have a safe, fun and inclusive holiday experience.
This year, I am going to do my best to honor those families who already struggle enough to help their child fit in by further promoting this project and becoming a Teal Pumpkin Project Halloween house.
Here’s how it works;
You go to their WEBSITE,
You take the Teal Pumpkin Project Pledge;
Then, you go to their MAP PAGE.
You enter your address to show the world that you are pledging to be a beacon of joy for kids who cannot eat what is normally offered on Halloween. (Those worried about security; add your address, but not your name to this map and it’s much safer. Where it says to enter in a name, I simply put “Campus” because that is the name of our street. No need to be specific)
Parents of children with food allergies then use this map to know what houses are safe for their children to trick-or-treat!
Once you have done this, share this blog and their site with others. Encourage them to do the same! It is SO easy to bring joy to a child with food allergies and to give comfort and peace of mind to a parent who is constantly in fear of what their children will be exposed to. No one wants their child to end up in the emergency room on a holiday. YOU can help ensure that doesn’t happen!
They recommend offering non-eatable items that are small, inexpensive and fun for kids. Last year I offered items like small Halloween themed party-favor style toys, bouncy balls, crayons, things I could pick up in bulk at the 99 Cent store or through companies like the Oriental Trading Company for a few cents each.
This is something simple you can do that can make a HUGE impact in a child’s day and it’s SO EASY, there is absolutely no reason not to do it. I highly recommend you become a Teal Pumpkin Halloween House and share this knowledge with your community today!
I would LOVE to see a hundred more markers up in our area and others around this country before Halloween!