Photo Courtesy of CNN –

By: Heaven Bassett

Black and Orange are the traditional Halloween colors, but there’s one more to keep in mind this year. Teal is the color to add into the festivities, but the choice is not random. In fact, Teal means a lot more than décor. It can mean all the difference for a kid with food allergies.

Look at it in a new perspective by walking a mile in a Trick or Treater’s shoes.

Let’s say little Johnny donned his super hero costume, and he’s checked the look in the mirror for the zillionth time. His cape is ironed, and his mask has been tied on by his mother’s precision hands. The neighborhood candy hotspots are mapped out, and his shoes are double knotted for efficient Trick or Treat travel. He’s going to rake it in this year. In fact, he’s ditched the candy bucket for a pillow case that provides mass storage for his up-and-coming collection.

Sounds great, right? There’s one hiccup in the epic Halloween shenanigans. Little Johnny has food allergies.

This means, while Mom rakes through the candy for tamper-risky treats, she’s also going to dispose of the more common goodies that are a threat to Johnny’s health. It’s not a fun task at the end of such a joy-filled event. Johnny will be left with very few options within his hard-earned treasure trove.

Unless, there are Teal pumpkins along the way.

The Teal Pumpkin Project was created so kids like Johnny can celebrate all Hallows Eve the way each one of our tykes like it, with a lot of walking and a bagful of prizes. The way this is accomplished is simple:

Houses with a Teal pumpkin on display are a signal that they offer Trick or Treaters non-food items.

It’s as easy as that.

Those who participate in the Teal Pumpkin project can also be added to the online map. Here you can feature your pumpkin, tell your reasonings for support, and share the Halloween spirit with all those little adventurers. With this tool, our little festive buddies out there can create a route, and treat it like a treasure map. I’d say that sounds like the perfect time to pull out the pirate costume, but I’m a sucker for a good theme. Pirate or not, a well-planned route also increases child safety, and that’s something to think about.

How common is the Teal Pumpkin Project? If you haven’t checked out the map, here’s a number for you: 18,000. That’s the number of houses that participated last year. Imagine all those allergy-ridden kids getting to enjoy their hard-earned plunder. Aye, it’s a wonderful thought, and a very real happening.

Get this, there’s also a slew of events to help support the project, as well as ways to become more involved. Hosting fundraising events, donating, or spreading the word about this good-natured cause are ways to increase the exposure, and make a neighborhood allergy-safe.

So, why Teal? Well, Teal is the color for food allergy awareness. As an added benefit, you don’t see a lot of it on Halloween, especially in pumpkin form. That means your super-awesome Teal-painted Jack-oh-Lantern won’t easily be missed. In fact, a lot of folk are embracing their creativity and taking the style to a master-artisan level, while others are keeping to a solid, classic, all-over color. Either way is great, because those kids know what it means, and they’ll be looking for it.

Let’s get back to the non-food yummies. Some of the Pinterest masters out there might make handcrafted keepsakes, others look more towards quantity and low price. So, here’s a few ideas to get you going that you can find at dollar stores:

  • Glow-sticks
  • Pencils
  • Crayons
  • Spider rings
  • Vampire Fangs
  • Stickers
  • Mini-action sets (remember those beloved Army men? I sure do).

The list can keep going as far as you want to take it. Generally, non-food items are a safer bet for allergy-sufferers; but, FARE also suggests avoiding latex items, as well as crafts that contain wheat, such as some moldable clay.

By the way, this doesn’t mean candy is a no-go for others. You can keep the special non-food surprises in a separate bowl, and go Halloween-giving crazy with the candy too. FARE even has signs you can print to let kids know the option is there, or you can make your own to go with your carefully plotted haunted house aesthetic.

There’s a lot of kids out there on this night of celebration. Toss a Teal Pumpkin on your lawn, and see whose night you make even better. While you’re thinking about it, Fare has a lot of goodies for adults too. Check out the Teal Pumpkin Project Home Essentials Kit, or the activities list to get your kid excited for the Teal Pumpkin onslaught.

Have fun out there, Johnny!