As my regular readers know, Will has a peanut allergy. (He was at one time also allergic to wheat, egg, and dairy.) Over the years we have worked out systems that allow him to safely trick-or-treat with his sister and friends, but Halloween - and the multitude of health risks candy poses for him - still scares me, especially as he gets older. Will makes good decisions and advocates for his own safety, but the dangers remain and the risks are real.
Because of Will's food allergies - and because so many other children (including both my niece and nephew) suffer from food allergies - we started participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project in 2014 when it officially hit front porches nationwide.
For those who haven't yet heard of this Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) project, here's the background information and a quick summary. At least one in 13 children (perhaps as many as one in 11 children) have a food allergy, and many more suffer from Celiac Disease, eat a restricted or special diet, or receive their nutrients via tube feeding. For these children - those who can't consume any of the items received while trick-or-treating or who can't trick-or-treat at all - Halloween doesn't have the same sparkle. The Teal Pumpkin Project began as a local awareness activity in Eastern Tennessee and grew into a nationwide campaign to "raise awareness about food allergies and promote the inclusion of all trick-or-treaters" and aims to ensure every child can experience a safe, happy holiday.
Participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project is easy.
- Pick out a pumpkin, paint it teal, and place it on your front porch on Halloween.
- Provide non-food treats - pencils, erasers, stickers, bubbles, and plastic vampire teeth have been popular at our house - for trick-or-treaters.
Later this week and just like we did last year, the year before, and the year before that, Hallie and I will buy a pumpkin at the local pumpkin patch and she'll spend the better part of an hour carefully covering every last inch of orange with teal paint. No, painting a pumpkin teal won't cure Will of his peanut allergy or make it possible for him to consume all of the same treats his sister and friends enjoy on Halloween. But it is a step toward increasing awareness and making the world a safer place for people with life-threatening food allergies...and Hallie loves having a part in this effort on behalf of her brother.
Would you like to win a Teal Pumpkin Project paint kit? Enter by commenting here or by commenting on or liking this post on Facebook. Will will randomly choose a winner on Thursday, October 26th at 8pm.
Let's paint the town teal!
I have no affiliation with nor have I received any payment - financial or in-kind - from the Teal Pumpkin Project in exchange for this post. I just happen to be a big supporter of their work!