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.