I’m lucky that Red has outgrown his food allergy (raspberry sensitivities). My own brother had milk and cheese allergies that he outgrew as well, but many of our friends and their children are not so lucky. From devastating peanut allergies to gluten-free lifestyles, food allergies are everywhere and can make trick-or-treating a less than pleasant experience.
As Chase and I have hosted a few trunk or treats for preschoolers, we have found that kids under 3 often aren’t allowed to have candy, or parental preferences and food-allergies leave them passing our car for other non-food stops. Last year, I made sure to have gluten-free pops and spider rings just for those kids. It was so much fun to see them participate and collect treasures as they lined up at our pirate-themed trunk.
Now that we’re in a huge neighborhood with lots of Halloween participation, I made sure that we’re advertising our non-food treats alongside the The Teal Pumpkin Project. The project is a national initiative from Food Allergy Research & Education that promotes safety, inclusion and respect of individuals managing food allergies by encouraging households to display a teal pumpkin and provide non-food treats for trick-or-treaters. This movement provides an alternative for kids with food allergies, as well as other children for whom candy is not an option, and keeps Halloween a fun, positive experience for all! Here’s how you can help those kids out, too!
Decorate with Teal Pumpkins
Trick-or-treaters can’t and won’t visit unless you look like you’re home! Light a jack-o-lantern, be festive, be spooky and be present. When you run out of treats, shut everything down and turn off your lights.
Let Them Know You Have Non-food Treats
This where the teal pumpkin comes in. It’s a visual marker! I snagged a fake, carve-able pumpkin from my hobby store as well as a big can of teal spray paint and primer in one. (That priming step is important when you’re dealing with plastic and foam!) I’d much rather paint a fake pumpkin and continue to display it year after year instead of painting a real gourd and having it rot. Ewwww!
Gear up with Allergy-Free Treats
Snag some fun treats like stuffies, earbuds, bracelets, and fuzzy keychains. These little items may not seem like much, but for food-allergic trick or treaters, it’s money in the bag… or FUN in the bag, anyway. They, too can bring home a bag of swag and share with their family. Make it fun! Walt Disney World has some amazing options at their Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party that you can use!