The Teal Pumpkin Project was inspired by a local awareness activity run by the Food Allergy Community of East Tennessee (FACET) and launched as a national campaign by FARE in 2014. FARE thanks FACET for their ongoing partnership as we work to reach families across the country and around the world with the Teal Pumpkin Project’s messages of awareness, inclusion and community.
TEAL PUMPKIN PROJECT FAQs
What’s the Teal Pumpkin Project®?
The Teal Pumpkin Project encourages people to raise awareness of food allergies and promotes inclusion of all trick-or-treaters throughout the Halloween season. The steps to participate are:
- Provide non-food treats for trick-or-treaters.
- Place a teal pumpkin – the color of food allergy awareness –in front of your home to indicate you have non-food treats available.
- Display a free printable sign or premium poster from FARE to explain the meaning of your teal pumpkin.
Why is this important?
Halloween can be a tricky time for families managing food allergies. Many traditional Halloween treats aren’t safe for children with life-threatening food allergies. The Teal Pumpkin Project promotes safety, inclusion and respect of individuals managing food allergies. This worldwide movement offers an alternative for kids with food allergies, as well as other children for whom candy is not an option. It keeps Halloween a fun, positive experience for all!
What do I do if I want to participate?
Participating is simple. Pick up some inexpensive toys, and place a teal pumpkin and/or a free printable sign from FARE outside your home to show that you have non-food treats to hand out. Supporting the Teal Pumpkin Project is a simple gesture that can have a big impact.
Do you want to help spread the Teal Pumpkin Project’s messages of a safer, happier Halloween for all even further? You can support FARE and the Teal Pumpkin Project in a variety of ways:
- Download FARE’s promotional flyer to circulate in your local community so that your neighbors can take part too!
- Host a Teal Pumpkin Project inspired fundraising event to support FARE
- Order an official Teal Pumpkin Project Halloween Essentials Kit that includes a fun selection of non-food treats, a pumpkin stencil, support poster, cool trick-or-treat bag, and more.
- Make a donation and receive a free Teal Pumpkin Project magnet (while supplies last)
- Download free materials and use the hashtag #tealpumpkinproject to help us spread the word.
I don’t have time to paint a pumpkin teal, what do I do?
Simple – you can print out a free sign from our website to post on your door. You can also look for teal pumpkins to purchase online and at local retail shops.
I didn’t know this was a problem. Why is Halloween a challenge for families managing food allergies?
Food allergies are a life-altering and potentially life-threatening disease, and a growing public health issue. In the U.S., one in 13 children has a food allergy – that’s roughly two in every classroom. For these children, even a tiny amount of their allergen has the potential to cause a severe reaction.
Virtually any food can cause a reaction. Many popular Halloween candies contain nuts, milk, egg, soy or wheat, which are some of the most common allergens in children and adults. Additionally, many miniature or fun-size versions of candy items contain different ingredients than their full-size counterparts and some miniature candy items may not have labels, so it is difficult for parents to determine whether these items are safe for their child with food allergies.
Non-food treats provide a safe, fun alternative for children with food allergies and other conditions for whom candy may present a problem.
What children can benefit from non-food treats?
All kids love non-food treats like glow sticks or small toys. There are children who have various conditions that may preclude them from having candy, or can particularly benefit from non-food treats, including:
- Food allergies
- Food intolerances
- Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE)
- Celiac disease
- Food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES)
- Children with feeding tubes
- Any child on a special diet
Is this taking away the tradition of collecting candy on Halloween?
The goal is not to exclude candy from the Halloween tradition. The goal is simply to ensure that children with food allergies – and other children for whom candy is not an option – are able to enjoy a safer, happier Halloween. Trick-or-treaters typically receive pounds of candies and chocolates, and we’re sure they will continue to collect plenty of candy. Many kids, whether they have food allergies or not, enjoy the experience of receiving little toys and other fun items that they can keep.
Can I still pass out candy?
Sure – just do it safely! The point of the Teal Pumpkin Project is to make trick-or-treating as inclusive as possible. You can keep the experience safe by keeping your food treats and non-food treats in separate bowls.
Do kids with life-threatening food allergies actually trick-or-treat?
Yes! Who wouldn’t want to take part in such a fun tradition shared with friends, classmates and family? Many kids with food allergies go out to trick-or-treat just like their friends. They know they’ll give much of their candy away because it’s not safe for them. They have come to understand that a lot of their fun will come from dressing up in a costume. We hope the Teal Pumpkin Project becomes a tradition for years to come so kids will know that when they knock on someone’s door that has a teal pumpkin, they’ll have a treat they can fully enjoy.
Are there any non-food treats that I should avoid?
There are a few considerations when choosing which non-food items to hand out. First, some non-food items still contain food allergens. For example, some brands of moldable clay contain wheat. Additionally, try to choose latex-free items, as there are children who have latex allergies.
If I’m handing out candy and non-food treats, how do I determine which treat to give to each trick-or-treater?
You can either ask trick-or-treaters if they have any food allergies, or give every visitor a choice of which treat they’d like: candy or a non-food item.
Do kids really like non-food treats?
They don’t just like them, they love them! Finding a unique treat at your house will be a fun surprise. Glow bracelets, for example, are a great option. They are inexpensive, kids can wear them throughout the night, and parents are appreciative because they help make kids more visible after nightfall. Other non-food items, such as pencils and stickers, can be used at home and at school long after candy has run out or expired.
How do I know which houses in my area are participating?
FARE is providing a Teal Pumpkin Project Participation Map that allows people participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project to add their home address, street or neighborhood. Adding your household to the map shows your support and allows you to connect with other families in your area who are participating.
How do I get my neighbors involved?
Getting your community involved is easy!
- Ask your friends and neighbors to learn more about the Teal Pumpkin Project and participate. Print out FARE’s flyers and hand them out.
- Host an event like a teal pumpkin painting party and ask your friends and neighbors to participate.
- If you have a neighborhood email listserv, send out an email about the initiative, including a link to FARE’s website (www.foodallergy.org).
- Reach out to your local library, dentist/doctor offices, schools, or community buildings to see if they would be willing to help you post signs or get the word out.
- Share information on social media, and post a picture of your teal pumpkins when you have them near your door! Don’t forget to use #tealpumpkinproject when you post!
Teal is the color of food allergy awareness. It has been used to raise awareness about this serious medical condition for nearly 20 years.
How did the project start?
The Teal Pumpkin Project was inspired by an awareness activity run by the Food Allergy Community of East Tennessee (FACET). FARE thanks FACET for their ongoing partnership as we work to reach families across the country and around the world with the Teal Pumpkin Project’s messages of awareness, inclusion and community.
Smart Pergolas Adjust to Any Weather
How to Cut Down on Pool Maintenance Costs This Summer
Enjoy your pool without breaking the bank.
Pool maintenance doesn’t have to be an expensive annual chore. Rather than spending up to $700 on pool maintenance, you can cut costs by doing a lot of the work yourself. You don’t want the pool to fall into such poor shape that you have to spend thousands of dollars on repairs. Here are some steps to keep pool maintenance costs down to nearly nonexistent this summer:
#1 Use your pool cover.
Pool covers significantly reduce energy costs over time because they slow how much water evaporates. With a pool cover, your pool heater doesn’t have to work overtime to keep the water cool. And it prevents debris build-up on windy days too, so you don’t have to clean the pool as often.
#2 Run your filter at night.
Running the pool filter at night helps to cut down on energy costs while still keeping your pool clean. Some people opt to run their pool filter 24 hours a day, but this is a waste of energy and over-cleans the pool, which can cause more problems. See if there’s an optimum time to run the pool filter at night and save on your electricity bill.
#3 Clean the pool filter.
Sweet and simple: cleaning your pool filter keeps your swimming pool clear and prevents you from spending more money on other, more costly pool repairs. So just do it.
#4 Invest in an energy-efficient pool pump.
If you have a normal pool pump, it only pumps at one speed — and it wastes energy on filtration, among other tasks. If you invest in an energy-efficient, variable-speed pump, you could save more than a thousand dollars over the life of the pump. You may also qualify for an energy rebate.
#5 Keep the temperature low.
You pay more money for every degree you raise the temperature in the pool. Consider keeping the water as cool as possible while remaining comfortable. You should also turn the heater off in the off season, when you’re not using the pool.
#6 Maintain the pH balance.
You must pay attention to the chemical balance of the water — not only to keep the water safe, but to keep your costs down as well. If the alkalinity of the water is thrown off for any reason, you’re usually better off getting a swimming pool professional involved. Pool chemicals are expensive — and if you don’t get the measurements right, you’re throwing money away as you pour the chemicals into the water.
#7 Balance stabilizer levels.
While all pool owners are aware of how important it is to maintain chlorine levels, not all may realize how stabilizer (cyanuric acid) plays into the process. Stabilizer aids the chlorine in its effectiveness. Too much or too little stabilizer will result in chlorine losing its effectiveness. Pool owners need to check their stabilizer levels and decrease or increase the amount of chlorine needed in the water to keep the pool safe.
Additional Pool Maintenance Costs:
These are quick and efficient steps to keeping your pool in shape this summer. However, there are some costs you need to keep in mind for the future too:
- Closing the pool in the fall: $75 – $200
- Running an automatic pool cleaner: $700 – $2,000
- Vacuuming the pool: $50 – $100
- Using chemicals: $20 – $100/month
If this seems like too much work for you, you can hire a swimming pool maintenance service. It will cost more, but they can do a lot of the work as part of a package, which could cost less in the long-term. Packages generally include:
- Brushing the pool
- Skimming debris
- Adjusting chemical levels
- Cleaning the pool filter
Source: Andrea Davis, HomeAdvisor,
8 of the Best Places in America to Retire
Finding a place to retire doesn’t have to be stressful. There are many living options for you to look at that offer the things you love.
Finding a place to retire doesn’t have to be stressful. Just think about what you love to do and what kind of adventures you want to partake in. There are countless places that offer the things you love, but for now here are 8 places that you should consider.
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Colorado Springs is a vibrant and attractive city for retirees. There are many opportunities for an active life in the great outdoors of Colorado. Colorado Springs is nestled at the base of Pikes Peak and is the home of the Garden of the Gods, one of the most breathtaking national wonders in America.
Indianapolis is the biggest city in the Hoosier state. Living in a big city may seem like a questionable financial move, but Indianapolis offers small-city pricing. There are numerous cultural activities that the city offers. Fan of the arts? The Indianapolis Museum of Art offers free general admission on the first Thursday of each month. If you enjoy world renowned art exhibits, beautiful gardens, or summer nights outdoor movie screenings, the IMA is the spot for you.
If you are looking to retire near the beach, Tampa is a great spot for you to check out. While Tampa is located right by the beach, the city still offers many urban attractions, such as malls, sporting events.
Aiken, South Carolina
Located in the center of South Carolina’s “Thoroughbred Country” Aiken is just a small town that is placed right outside of Augusta, Georgia. There are dozens of opportunities of take place in golfing tournaments, as well as to watch steeplechase horse racing. Aiken is also well-known for its parks, historic buildings, wooded areas, and art museums.
Rockport is one of the largest retirement communities in the United States; more than 25% of the popular is older than 65. Not only is it a thriving retirement community, but it also is conveniently placed between two big cities. The ocean is not very far away from Rockport, as well as all the amenities that come with living in or near a big city.
Astoria is a little beach town tucked into the Northwest corner of the beautiful state of Oregon. The mighty Colombia River runs through Astoria on the way to the Pacific Ocean. Lovers of nature need look no further than Astoria to find a peaceful small town with specialty shops and delicious, fresh seafood!
Mendocino is more than just a place—it’s a state of mind. Mendocino boasts gorgeous natural scenery combined with a tight-knit local community. With the perfect mix of social opportunity and natural wonder, Mendocino is a retirement dream.
Thinking about where you want to retire certainly can be stressful, especially if you have no idea where you want to purchase your new home. All eight of the cities that we talked about in this article are great places to retire; they’re all filled with fun adventures that you can partake in. Just think about what you love to do and you will be all set to pick the best location for you to retire in!
Source: CB Blue Matter/Sharon Le
Looking in Solano county because San Francisco is too expensive?
Our proximity to both the bay area and Sacramento creates a unique housing market. Because of this location, we have always had a fair amount of the population that commutes to one or the other. Anyone can see that if they spend time on the freeway before 9 am or after noon on most days.
Based on a recent article by FORBES, (link here) the bay area apartment rent prices are beginning to level off in some markets, however in the markets that are being hit the hardest, are not.
Recent construction in California has been primarily Class A apartments and rental units, where the major demand for rentals is in Cass B and Class C housing markets. Luxury apartments are going in statewide, but there are fewer apartments going in that can appeal to the majority of the population.
Because many in the B and C market are faced with very few apartment options, that they are in many times opting to live in a single family dwelling. This has caused our supply to dwindle, and prices to increase. Why? Because it can. Simple supply in demand.
Some investors are beginning to opt to revitalizing older apartment complexes- which is in many ways wiser and more affordable on their end, in order to tap into a growing market of the market, however the supply is still yet to be met.
In my opinion, this is one of the many factors that is causing a few problems currently affecting our housing market… If someone is paying more in rent than they can afford they are unlikely to be capable of saving money to purchase a home. And it’s not because of a surplus of better options. Most in the rental market have very limited options. With no downpayment, looming debt, even with a good paying job it seems impossible to purchase a home.
So, how do you buy a home when you can’t afford a down payment?
There are people doing it- so it’s gotta be possible. Millennials have set a record breaking high of 40% living at home with their parents. Some are home with the intention of saving money, some just because they do not have affordable options for rent. There are many that live at home because they cannot or do not want to find work.
For those that do have good employment history may have limited options, however they do have options. There are loan programs for $80,000 buyers and buyers in the luxury category. It is important to be realistic about expectations. While certain shows may be appealing to watch, a first time buyer may not get updated flooring, valued ceilings and granite counters. Sometimes you have to create the home you want, and thats ok- it will be yours, and improvements can always be made later down the road.
No matter where you are in the process, living at home with parents, getting ready to move up to your retirement home, or any where in between, that you speak to a local lender or mortgage company. Why local? They are people you can actually meet with, sit down with and discuss your plans with. They have an investment in your community and know the programs that will work for you based on your specific situation. Many will also help you with credit repair, help you know how much to save and where to make it work in your budget. It will not cost a thing, and it will get you in the mindset and give you the tools to create a plan to move forward, rather than spinning your wheels in the rental market.
For more local resources or to start making your home buying process, feel free to contact me.