The Teal Pumpkin Project Is The Most Adorable Way To Protect Kids This Halloween

If you have kids, they must be getting antsy around this time. Maybe trying on their Elsa costumes multiple times a day? That's because Halloween is almost here! Unfortunately, for parents of kids with food allergies, the annual holiday can be an anxiety-filled day of monitoring treats with an eagle eye. That's why this year Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) started the Teal Pumpkin Project, which aims to encourage families to provide non-food treats so that every kid can trick or treat safely.

How does it work? Households who choose to participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project are asked to paint a pumpkin teal (the color of food allergy awareness) and place it outside their door, along with a free FARE printable sign, to indicate that they're offering non-edible options. Crediting the Food Allergy Community of East Tennessee (FACET) for coming up with the idea, FARE hopes to spread the word through social media by using the #TealPumpkinProject hashtag. The organization also offers informational images to share or to use as your profile picture.

Nearly 6 million children in America have food allergies, the top ones being, according to FARE, nuts, milk, soy, egg, wheat, and shellfish. Many of the most popular candies contain nuts (Snickers, PayDay, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, etc.) and, as the name suggests, milk chocolate contains milk. Each year, many kids with more severe allergies unfortunately have to sit out on trick or treating. Imagine how happy they would be — and how relieved their parents would be — knowing that houses are now offering completely safe treats. That's FARE's mission: "To keep Halloween a fun, positive experience for all."

But, of course, there will be those kids who grumble at the thought of anything but a Snickers bar. So the alternatives better be good. And families who participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project can still pass out candy, as long as they keep it in a separate bowl and make sure to ask each child/parent about allergies before handing out the treat.

Here's what FARE recommends passing out as food alternatives this Halloween.

FARE's Suggestions

  • Glow sticks, bracelets, or necklaces
  • Pencils, pens, crayons or markers
  • Bubbles
  • Halloween erasers or pencil toppers
  • Mini Slinkies
  • Whistles, kazoos, or noisemakers
  • Bouncy balls
  • Finger puppets or novelty toys
  • Coins
  • Spider rings
  • Vampire fangs
  • Mini notepads
  • Playing cards
  • Bookmarks
  • Stickers
  • Stencils

Additional Suggestions

  • Hair barrettes
  • Matchbox cars
  • Fake tattoos
  • Mini animal figurines
  • Spider soap
  • Printed flyers of craft ideas
  • Mini coloring books
  • Mini nail polish
  • An Instagram portrait of your child in costume

Images: Britney Perreault/Twitter, FARE