[This article is from the blogosphere. Author, Lisa Winter, science contributor to APlus Postive Journalism shares a new way to do something good for families in our community and children who are sometimes left out of the fun of Halloween. Read here how you can do something simple that will mean so much to families with children who have food allergies.]
Halloween is a downright magical time for kids. They get to dress up in amazing costumes and collect their body weight in candy, with most of them eating most of it before it can hit the bottom of the bag.
For millions of American children, however, the thrill of trick-or-treating can become life-threatening if they aren't careful. Millions of children in America have food allergies and sensitivities, and could have potentially life-threatening reactions to common candy components including peanuts, wheat and dairy.
Parents of these kids have to inspect everything that gets collected and, unfortunately, most of it has to be thrown out.
Happily, a new program has been started to address this problem and make Halloween fun for everyone: The Teal Pumpkin Project.
The premise is pretty simple: paint a pumpkin teal and place it by the door to let trick-or-treaters know there are treats available that are safe for them. This could be as simple as painting an ordinary jack-o-lantern or going over the top and decorating an artificial pumpkin that can be used for several years to come.
There are many non-food alternatives to pass out to trick-or-treaters with allergies, such as Halloween-themed pencils, erasers, rings, stickers and other fun party favors.
Of course, that doesn't mean Halloween has to be entirely free of candy, as the majority of kids can eat it safely. Many people who participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project offer both food and non-food choices to trick-or-treaters. To make sure there's no chance of cross-contamination, these non-food treats need to be kept in a separate bowl.
Offering both choices to all children who come to the door allows the kids with allergies to make a choice that's safe for them without having to be singled out or make a big deal out of it.
The Teal Pumpkin Project allows all children — regardless of their food sensitivity or allergy — to have a carefree and safe Halloween.