How you can play a part in raising awareness of food allergies and promoting inclusion for all trick-or-treaters this Halloween

Child Health, News | one year ago

For Kids with Allergies, Teal Is the Real Prize on Halloween

How you can play a part in raising awareness of food allergies and promoting inclusion for all trick-or-treaters this Halloween

Halloween comes with the expectation and excitement of a little fear when Halloween fanatics gear up to scare visitors with the perfect haunted porch or ghoulish costume. It’s all in good fun. But for the one in 13 children under the age of 18 who suffer food allergies, anxiety comes not from the potential fright, but the thought of not being able to participate and receive Halloween treats on October 31.

A food-induced allergic reaction can be sudden and in severe cases can lead to death. Ekta Shah, MD, a pediatric allergist with Carolinas HealthCare System, cites that the major allergens for kids on Halloween are milk, eggs, peanuts, nuts, wheat, and soy. “Children can have reactions ranging from mild to severe having ingested any of these ingredients,” said Dr. Shah. “Being aware of alternatives, and taking precautions, is a simple step toward being inclusive of all children in the neighborhood on Halloween.”

Make Room for A Teal Pumpkin

Everyone loves carving pumpkins, from simple to intricate, carving and displaying your pumpkins is a great, fun family activity. This year, consider making room on your porch for a teal pumpkin. What is a teal pumpkin? The Teal Pumpkin Project® is an awareness campaign encouraging non-food treats at Halloween to support children with allergies and foster inclusion on this holiday. The campaign was launched in 2014 by Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE).

“Kids with food allergies have a different experience trick-or-treating because they miss out on treats containing ingredients they can’t eat,” said Dr. Shah.  “However, with a little bit of extra planning and caution, they can still have a fun-filled Halloween.”

Go Teal! And Find Your Nearest Dollar Store

Raisins? Pennies? Every grown-up trick-or-treater can recall the house that gave out the treat that no one wanted. The good news is that there are fun, and affordable, options to accompany your teal pumpkin. Most items can be picked up at your local dollar store, Halloween supply store, or online. Made available in a separate bowl to children who identify themselves as having allergies, here are a few options that won’t disappoint:

  • Glow sticks, bracelets, or necklaces
  • Bubbles
  • Noise makers
  • Spider rings
  • Vampire fangs
  • Stickers
  • Mini notepads
  • Bouncy balls

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.

Can I Still Pass Out Candy?

Of course. The point of the campaign is to make trick-or-treating as inclusive as possible. FARE recommends taking the extra precaution of keeping your food treats and non-food treats in separate bowls.

How Do I Know Which Treat to Give to Each Trick-Or-Treater?

You can ask your little visitors if they have any food allergies, or give your little visitors the option of choosing the treat they would like. A child with food allergies will select the non-food prize, and the parents will appreciate the option.

Spread the Word About Teal Pumpkins

The Teal Pumpkin Project® is relatively young, launched in 2014, and we encourage participants to educate their friends and families. Social media is one of the best and easiest way to spread the word. You can use #tealpumpkinproject online when posting to Facebook or Twitter. We would love for you to share pictures of your teal pumpkin or creative non-food prizes with us online at Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram


Resource: (i) FARE, FoodAllergy.Org