1 in every 13 Kids Has a Food Allergy or Food Color Sensitivity
I have a child with food allergies, and after saying the obligatory “trick-or-treat!” he often asks if they have allergen-free candy. We usually get a confused look and then an apology, while I’m hurriedly reminding him that we’re swapping out his candy once we get home.
If you love handing out candy, why not make it fun and safe for ALL? It’s super easy to buy allergen-free candy nowadays. And if you can’t find safe candy, you can always buy fun little Halloween-themed toys to give out.
This year, I’m excited about looking for teal pumpkins instead. Have you heard about the teal pumpkin movement?
Teal Pumpkins are Awesome
Food allergies are not some fad and they are not a joke. Trust me, it’s not fun for the kid with an allergy to not be able to eat all of the “normal” foods that their friends are chowing down on.
It’s unbelievable, but 1 in every 13 kids in the United States has a food allergy or food color sensitivity. With the skyrocketing cases of pediatric food issues, comes an increase in moms and dads who are frustrated at the lack of safe options for their kids.
Becky Basalone was one of these frustrated moms. She has a child with food allergies and knew there were other kids in the community who had allergies also. If only there was a way to signal them that her house had safe treats … and then she thought of painting a pumpkin teal. Becky, who also leads the Food Allergy Community of East Tennessee, shared her idea and it spread like wildfire.
“I think this caught on quickly because families managing food allergies need to feel more of a positive connection to others in their community,” Basalone said. “I think that the general public is eager to participate because most realize that this is a simple compassionate act that can make a huge difference to a child.”
Teal Pumpkin = Bat Signal
The Food Allergy Research and Education organization partnered with a food allergy-mom Becky to make the teal pumpkin a nationwide effort. Thanks to FARE you can now buy (fake) teal pumpkins at Michaels.
When my son saw the teal pumpkins for sale he was so happy. I don’t think people realize how alienating it can be to not be able to eat food/candy like everyone around you.
Think of the teal pumpkin as a bat signal (Batman … get it?) for families with food allergies. Households can still give out their favorite Halloween candies, but can save a smaller container of safe candy or little toys and treats for those who need them. Trust me, most families with food allergies are aware of the teal pumpkin movement. And if they aren’t and you get a child who asks for allergy-free candy? How cool is it that you get to share this with them?
Safe Treat Ideas
Ideas to fill a teal pumpkin include little gifts like stretchy spiders, vampire teeth, bubbles, stickers or skull and crossbones rings.
If you’d like to include sweets, the Surf Sweets company has a line of candy that is organic and free from the top 10 allergens (you can find them locally at For the Health of It, Whole Foods and Publix Grocery stores).
Get creative, and let’s keep Halloween fun and safe for all trick-or-treaters this year.