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.

Keep Trick or Treating fun, healthy and safe for everyone

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.

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