Teal pumpkins have been popping up during the Halloween season in recent years, yet many people don’t know what they really mean. Displaying a teal pumpkin means that your home has non-food items available for the little goblins and superheroes as they come looking for treats.
Why is this important?
Because what child likes to be left out of the fun of Trick or Treating?
When a child has severe food allergies, diabetes, or another condition that limits the types of foods he or she can eat, they are often left out of class parties and trick or treating.
What can you do to support these kids?
Show parents that you are giving kids the option of a safe treat by displaying a teal pumpkin.
There are many non-food treats that kids would love ~ stickers, pencils, glow sticks, bubbles, plastic jewelry, vampire teeth, pencil toppers, hair pieces, magic trick cards, and many more. Be sure you have some that are safe for toddlers.
Why non-food things? Can’t we just avoid nuts?
Non-food items are better than nut-free because kids have allergies to all kinds of things, and it is impossible to know in advance what all those allergies are.
When kids must limit their overall sugar intake, non-food treats rule.
What about the kids who want candy?
Just because you offer non-food items, it doesn’t mean that you can’t also give candy.
Simply let kids know you have both options and ask which they prefer. Keep two containers: one of candy and one of non-food items.
How do you get a teal pumpkin?
We put together some reusable teal pumpkins at my office several years ago. My initial plan was to spray paint some plastic pumpkins, but decided to use Duct tape to cover plastic pumpkins instead. Duct tape has less smell. We didn’t have to wait for them to dry, and if we ever want to use them outside, they will be fairly weather-proof. They’ve held up well over the years.
Pretty cute, huh?
Let people know you’re participating!
Share this idea with your neighbors and friends. Use social media. Put a note in your neighborhood bulletin. Share with your school nurse. Ask stores to display a flyer.
Kids have to know what the pumpkin means. Display signs as well as your pumpkin letting them know you have non-food options as well as candy.
Register as a site that will offer non-food items on FoodAllergy.org.
For more information and a free printable flyer (like the one pictured in our office above), ideas on what to provide, and more information in general, see The Teal Pumpkin Project.