When you think Halloween what comes to mind? Candy, duh. All the candy. Because if you eat candy on Halloween it doesn’t count, say it with me, “the calories and sugar content is zero.”
Halloween will always be represented by the same universal symbols: candy, costumes, jack-o-lanterns, ghosts, and so much more. The last few years, I’ve been hoping to add another image to the list: teal pumpkins.
I first learned about teal pumpkins and the Teal Pumpkin Project last year just before Halloween via by my neighborhood’s Facebook page. I took notice of the idea, but didn’t really think much of it as my son had just turned one. Like most parents, because of his age, we weren’t trick or treating and instead would be attending a Halloween party with friends. And like most parents, we put out a big bowl of candy (filled with the zero-calorie/zero-sugar yummy goodness). I may or may not have eaten some and should not be allowed to buy Halloween candy until the last minute — but that is a whole different topic.
Over the last year, my son has grown and so has his group of friends. I have learned a great deal about food allergies and just how much they affect children and their families. These parents work very hard to provide their children equal experiences to that of their peers. They go above and beyond to run to places like Unrefined Bakery and pick up a treat or have food that they know their baby can eat with them at all times. These amazing parents make sure that even when their kids can’t have the yummy sugar filled grocery store cake, they don’t feel left out. These families spend a great deal of time teaching their kids why certain foods hurt their bellies and help them understand why their food is different.
So when I learned about the Teal Pumpkin Project, I just knew that this year would be different. This year, I was going to help the families of children with food allergies spread awareness and help their sweet babies be able to participate in all of the fun that Halloween has to bring.
Honestly, I feel a bit guilty when I think of last year and not participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project. So today when my family and I were grocery shopping, I picked up a Teal Pumpkin Project Paint Kit. They are selling them at Market Street, Party City, or you can purchase one online. The kits range from $3.99-$6. I was actually very impressed with my Market Street (McKinney)’s display. They took the time to stock the display with many treats that could be an option for children with food allergies.
This year I pledge to paint a pumpkin teal, with the help of my 2 year old of course! I pledge to put out a big bowl of Halloween goodness in the form of something all kids can enjoy. I know Target has upped their game in the non-candy goods department so maybe I will get something there. Or I may pop into the Dollar Store to get little trinkets and things there. But no matter what, I hope to give a few more children with food allergies something to add to their trick-or-treat bag and enjoy Halloween just like their friends without allergies.
There are many ways that we as parents can bring awareness to food allergies as well as support the families that have them. Here are a few ways:
- When throwing a birthday party ask other parents about their child’s allergy and what you can do to make the food side of the party more enjoyable for their child. (I plan to pick up a cupcake from Unrefined as well as grilled nuggets from Chick-Fil-A for my son’s birthday.)
- Become aware and participate in things like the Teal Pumpkin Project
- Learning about labels and sharing with the parent when you see something that may be a new snack for a child with allergies. They get tired of their same old, same old.
- Having allergen-free snacks on hand when you know the child with allergies will be around.
- Double checking with the parents if you see that their child is going for a snack or asking for snack.