Everything You Need To Know About the Teal Pumpkin Project

What is the deal with these teal pumpkins?

It’s not the latest trend to add some cool colors to your fall decor, but an awareness campaign to be mindful and inclusive of allergy sufferers during Halloween. Did you know approximately 1 in 13 children suffers from food allergies?

Your Guide to the Teal Pumpkin Project

Let’s face it, trick-or-treating is all about the candy. It’s a toss-up as to what kids love more about the holiday: dressing up as their favorite characters or a bag full of candy at the end of the night.

The main food allergens in the United States are milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish and crustacean shellfish. Think of how many of these are ingredients in the most popular candy recipes. It’s a lot, and that’s not counting possible cross-contamination. 

So, why not make trick-or-treating fun and inclusive for those with diet limitations? It’s super easy to participate.

First, provide allergy-friendly treats. Second, place a teal pumpkin by your door. You can even register your house as a provider of allergy-friendly treats. That’s it!

There are a lot of options for allergy-friendly treats. Consider these 10 Non-candy ideas (think party favors):

  • Glow sticks
  • Bouncy balls
  • Bubbles
  • Whistles
  • Novelty Toys
  • Rings
  • Halloween themed toys
  • Playing cards
  • Bookmarks
  • Stickers

Where can you get these items without breaking the bank?

Try Party City, dollar stores, Target (dollar spot, party supplies and now they even have an allergy-friendly Halloween section), Amazon, Oriental Trading, etc. The possibilities are endless and can cater to any budget. Mix and match items or just provide one option. It’s up to you! Another plus is that you can save any leftovers for next year and are not stuck eating a whole bag of candy by yourself. (Although, I am completely with you if you buy an extra bag of candy just for you.)

Considering getting your kids involved! It’s a great way to raise food allergy awareness in the home. Have them help you pick fun non-candy treats. You could also get a paper/craft pumpkin, paint it teal and have them paint on a jack-o-lantern face!

If you still feel nostalgic about the tradition of handing out candy, you can still do that! Just make sure to keep sweets and allergy-friendly treats in separate bowls to prevent cross-contamination for those with severe allergies. Let the kids decide between the two! You could even ask the adult which treat the kid can have, as some younger allergy sufferers might not even be aware of their risk. 

I’ve provided non-candy treats for about three years now and kids love them. They get excited for something different that will last longer than the five seconds it takes for them to unwrap and inhale the candy as soon as they get back to their house. Or, if they’re like my daughter, the candy doesn’t even make it to the next house!

Check out Food Allergy Research and Education’s website on the Teal Pumpkin Project for more info, register your home or even find print-outs to spread the word.


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Paola, originally from Puerto Rico, came to Iowa to study at Iowa state University where Ryan, an Iowa native, won her heart and they’ve been married for five years. They now call Cedar Rapids home and work as landscape designers in North Liberty. They love watching their toddler, Olivia, grow and are excited to see her as a big sister in the Fall of 2019. Paola's hobbies include crafting, running, yoga, baking and anything handmade. She recently opened Pikosa Creations to share her creativity with the world. Her passions include family, kindness, desserts and vacations to the beach.