Keep Trick or Treating fun, healthy and safe for everyone
Consider joining The Teal Pumpkin Project to promote non-food treats for kids with food allergies or those who would prefer a healthy alternatives.
Trick or treat? Since tricks usually aren’t the choice, maybe we need to rethink the treat aspect of this Halloween phrase. Providing non-food treats was something I began a couple of years ago. I stumbled across Food Allergy Research and Education’s (FARE). In 2014, the Teal Pumpkin Project began with a Teneseee mom in 2014. According to FARE, “last year, households from all 50 states and 14 countries participated.” This project “is a worldwide movement to create a safer, happier Halloween for all trick-or-treaters.” It’s great to think of providing alternatives for kid’s with food allergies, but this is an opportunity to create not only a safe experience for kids but one that is healthy.
To keep kids with allergies safe and those who prefer a non-food treat, offer alternatives. This should not be an expensive undertaking. You can visit your local dollar store or shop the internet for some inexpensive items to provide as a treat alternative. FARE has some suggestion on their website, as well as a list of supporters with whom you may choose to shop. Trick or Treater approved items are: stickers, bouncy balls, glow-in-the dark goodies like sticks, necklaces or bracelets, bubbles, stickers, pencils, temporary tattoos or even character band aids. Once you have a selected which non-food items to provide, you can decide if you’d like to have treats and the non-food goodies or just the goodies. After you make that decision, visit FARE to print a sign letting Trick or Treaters know that you have options.
In addition to a sign, the best way to let Trick or Treaters know that you have non-food items is by going teal. According to FARE, “teal is the new orange.” Paint a pumpkin teal to show that you support the Teal Pumpkin Project. For those pinners, you can find sign, pumpkin and decoration suggestions on Pinterest.
A teal pumpking on your porch or a printed sign will draw attention to the awareness of food allergies. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shares that “a food allergy occurs when the body has a specific and reproducible immune response to certain foods.” How the body reacts is different for everyone, a slight rash to a severe and life threatening response, such as anaphylaxis. The CDC says that “food allergies are a growing food safety and public health concern that affect an estimated 4 percent to 6 percent of children in the United States.” FARE writes that “one in 13 children in the U.S. has a food allergy.”
Paint a pumpkin teal and participat in the Teal Pumpkin project. If that project isn’t your passion, but healthy choices for kids are, select prizes or non-food goodies to put a smile on a Trick or Treater’s face. Michigan State University Extension challenges you to keep this Halloween fun, healthy and safe for everyone.