When you think about fall colors, most folks think of browns, yellows, and oranges — the color of those fallen leaves — along with some black to go with Halloween. But you've probably seen teal pumpkins around Halloween, either as Halloween porch decor or as some kids’ trick-or-treat bag. But what does a teal pumpkin mean? It's more than just a statement piece.
Teal pumpkins are actually a way for families to safely include children with allergies who are out trick-or-treating. Teal Pumpkin Project campaign started in Tennessee in 2014 by the Food Allergy Community of East Tennessee (FACET), and has since been adopted all over.
Many types of Halloween candy are not very friendly to kids who have severe food allergies. There are nuts, soy, peanut butter — you name it. Some kids are even allergic to chocolate. If you see a pumpkin on the porch of a house that is distributing candy on Halloween, it signals that they have allergy-friendly treats for kids with food allergies. Of course not everyone is going to be aware of the meaning of teal pumpkins, so you should still always ask and make sure the colorful pumpkin is not on their porch solely for aesthetic purposes.
And if your child has allergies, you can have them tote around a teal pumpkin. Those who are passing out trick-or-treat candy might be in the know and offer more mindful options. At the very least, it’s an opportunity to educate them and cross your fingers that they’ll remember to have some type of trinket or treat for those who can’t enjoy the standard Halloween candy. This doesn’t even have to be an edible item — it can be glow sticks, stickers, temporary tattoos, or any other small and affordable item to stuff in a bucket.
How is this actually impacting families in real life? Brittany Wilson Dye, an elementary school music teacher in Tennessee, has a son named Matthew who is allergic to a lot of different things, including soy, peanuts, tree nuts, green peas, lentils, wheat, egg, and sesame. Understandably, Dye and her family are huge advocates of the Teal Pumpkin Project, and her son Matthew knows that “it’s for kids like him, and it makes him feel special and included [on Halloween],” Dye says.
Dye makes two points about the misconceptions surrounding the Teal Pumpkin Project, one of which is explaining that it doesn’t mean you are exclusively offering non-food items at your door for Halloween. “It simply means you have purchased a non-food item in addition to the candy you purchased. I have seen people say that refuse to participate because they don’t want to not have candy. That’s simply not how the Teal Pumpkin Project works,” Dye says.
So grab a pumpkin and some teal spray paint from your closest craft store, and stop by the Dollar Tree on the way home to grab some glow sticks or other little toys. You’ll be making a little kid really happy this Halloween by helping them feel included. Plus you get a pretty teal pumpkin. Happy Halloween.
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