Teal Pumpkin Project Encourages People To Hand Out Non-Edible Treats For Kids With Food Allergies

Is there anything better than trick-or-treating for Halloween candy when you're a kid? But for some kids with food allergies, Halloween candy isn't safe — which is why the Teal Pumpkin Project for kids with food allergies is trying to make sure that all kids can get in on the fun, even the ones who can't eat the candy. The campaign started in 2014, and it's back again this year, hoping to make an even bigger splash.

The Teal Pumpkin Project was founded by a nonprofit called Food Allergy Research & Education or FARE, which works on behalf of people with food allergies. According to their estimates, 1 in 13 children has a food allergy, which adds up to a lot of trick-or-treaters. A lot of those kids are allergic to common candy ingredients, especially peanuts and other nuts. And since many small-size candy bars don't list their ingredients on the wrappers, that means that parents don't always know what's safe and what isn't.

So to make sure that kids can still have fun trick-or-treating but stay safe, FARE recommends that people also hand out non-edible goodies, not just candy. And to let parents and kids know that they are handing such things out, too, they recommend marking your house with a teal pumpkin.

While it might seem strange to hand out something besides candy, there are actually a lot of other options. Here are a few ideas that FARE recommends:

  • Glow sticks, bracelets, or necklaces
  • Pencils, pens, crayons or markers
  • Halloween erasers or pencil toppers
  • Mini Slinkies
  • Whistles, kazoos, or noisemakers
  • Bouncy balls
  • Bookmarks
  • Stickers

And you can find even more ideas on their website, as well as posters and tips on how to paint your pumpkin.

Though last year was the first year for this campaign, the idea caught on fast. There were teal pumpkins in all 50 states, as well as seven countries, and this year they hope to get even bigger. The goal for 2015 is to have 100,000 households participate. Because all kids should get the chance to enjoy the spoils of their trick-or-treat fun.