Halloween's gotta be a tough time for kiddos with allergies. I thought my husband and I were doing our part in being inclusive by having one bowl of treat bags full of our personal favourites (Reese and M&Ms) and one bowl of nut-free baggies with Mars and other minis that feature a red slash through an illustrated nut. In the past four years in my neighborhood, we average a hundred kids at our door and only one per year has opted for the nut-free, so I was kinda patting myself on the back for going out of my way to accommodate the 1%. But did you know that 1 in 13 kids has a food allergy? And that, more to the point, it's not always nuts.
Dairy, gluten, dyes, and other food allergies make trick-or-treating so challenging for some families that they might just be opting to stay home and have their own Halloween fun rather than risk being in contact with their allergens. Since 2014, Food Allergy Research and Education (F.A.R.E.)'s Teal Pumpkin Project has aimed to make Halloween inclusive for all kids, encouraging people to display a teal pumpkin to signal that there are non-food treats available as an option. This campaign has also been a godsend for the parents of kids who can't eat orally and would otherwise be left out. Well, I might be two years late but I'm jumping on the teal pumpkin wagon by registering my address as a Teal Pumpkin home and I invite you to do the same if you haven't beat me to the (dairy-free, gluten-free, nut-free) punch.
You may be thinking, *teal* pumpkins? That doesn't sound very Halloween-y. But in addition to being the colour of F.A.R.E., it also stands out in a group of orange pumpkins and makes a statement (which is kind of the point here). Scroll through above to see what Chelsae Laine Francis, The Lush List, Making it Milk Free, FoodAllergy.com, and HGTV created with the theme.
Now on to the treats themselves! There are so many things you can have on hand for the kiddos to whom the Teal Pumpkin Project is tailored. Here are just a few ideas:
-mini water guns
-novelty pencils and erasers
-gluten-free playdough (like Soy-Yer Dough)
-light-up fingertip accessories
-cup and ball toys
Or if you're not into one of those ideas, just go stand in the party favour section at your local Dollar Store and pick for yourself!
And although most kids and parents who will be taking you up on the non-food option will understand the significance of a teal pumpkin on your doorstep, F.A.R.E recommends printing a poster to hang by your bell. Here's a link to that. And, above, there's a quick rundown of how I made my own teal pumpkins. My blogmate Karyn Kimberley had actually come over a few days prior to this for some teal pumpkin decorating fun and I hadn't picked paint that would stick to the pumpkins well enough-- it flaked off the next day. So lesson learned: spraypaint with a built-in primer is the way to go on this. (Sorry, Karyn! You're a great sport!)
Wishing you all a Happy and inclusive Halloween,
p.s. Don't forget to add your address to the Teal Pumpkin map!