a teal pumpkin on a stoop

The Importance of Displaying Teal Pumpkins in the Fall

I love so much about fall: autumn spices, cooler weather, pumpkins, and unique colors, including teal. Teal pumpkins have been part of my fall décor for almost a decade now. But they signify more than my liking for this season. Teal pumpkins show my support for people with food allergies.

What is the Teal Pumpkin Project?

I discovered the connection between teal pumpkins and food allergies after I started writing for a children's hospital in 2012. To inform my work with the hospital's Allergy service, I received emails from Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE). Along the way, an email message told of the Teal Pumpkin Project, an endeavor to help children and families affected by food allergies.

I was so excited to learn about this fun, simple way to advocate for people with food allergies. The Teal Pumpkin Project encourages us to provide non-food treats for children at Halloween.

How to show your participation in the Teal Pumpkin Project

We can let trick-or-treaters know our home has non-food Halloween treats by:

  • Placing a teal pumpkin in front of our house.
  • Including our home on the Teal Pumpkin Project map.
  • Displaying a teal pumpkin sign on our door.

FARE provides free flyers, signs, and other resources on its website to make things even easier.1

What can you offer on Halloween to support the Teal Pumpkin Project?

My husband, son, and I look forward to the opportunities that Halloween brings. We prepare to greet our neighbors and visitors. We enjoy decorating and selecting unique gifts for all who find their way to our doorstep.

On Halloween, we offer both food and non-food treats to trick-or-treaters. I vary the items to ensure we have something for children of all ages. Children and parents alike have been pleased with the following non-food items we have provided over the years:

  • Mini notepads and activity pads
  • Pencils
  • Stickers
  • Toys (balls, bracelets, cars, rings, etc.)

This year, I plan to add bookmarks to our array of treats. I am an avid reader, a professional writer, and a children's book consultant. I strive to make reading fun for children to enjoy all the benefits of this activity. Recalling that I learned about the Teal Pumpkin Project through reading makes me smile.

Supporting others' safety

Having food allergies as an adult is difficult. Every day, I put forth an effort to get enough nutrition while avoiding ingredients that cause symptoms. I find this more challenging to do on special occasions celebrated outside my home.

I can imagine how complex this chronic illness must be for children on holidays like Halloween. They surely wonder why they cannot have all the special treats offered. Halloween can be scary and dangerous for those with life-threatening reactions to food allergens.

Supporting inclusivity

Halloween has never been a major holiday for me. I grew up in the country where neighbors lived further away. I avoid things that frighten me. And because of my faith, I choose to celebrate other holidays.

When I became a mother, I had to consider my son. I knew I needed to teach him what Halloween is. I had to explain the decorations he saw in public and why I opted for pumpkins instead of ghosts and skeletons.

Our teal pumpkins remind us that people with food allergies do not have to be left out, and neither do we. My family can still do something meaningful on Halloween. When it gets dark and spooky, we can turn on our lights and give safe things to those who come knocking on our door.

Raising awareness for those with food allergies

FARE's efforts with the Teal Pumpkin Project continue to inspire me. This is another way I can get involved and be there for people who are allergic to certain foods. I want to see and serve everyone, including trick-or-treaters with special needs related to their allergies.

Taking part in the Teal Pumpkin Project allows me to advocate for people with food allergies at Halloween. I am raising awareness of their condition and helping them in other ways. I make sure they do not feel overlooked or leave my house empty-handed. And I have fun doing this with my family.

I recently bought a special non-food treat for myself. While browsing the fall décor in a local arts and crafts store, I found a kitchen towel with a teal pumpkin design. The towel adorns my home and will remind me all season to see and serve the people I support as a patient leader advocate.

Do you participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project? Please share what fun non-food items you offer children who are seeking treats on Halloween.

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