Now that houses are decked out in their Halloween best, you may have noticed blue-green gourds outside a few houses and wondered about the teal pumpkins' meaning. As it turns out, these bright-colored squashes are actually part of a really cool project aimed at raising awareness of food allergies so everyone can fully enjoy the holiday.
To ensure that trick-or-treating is inclusive, the Teal Pumpkin Project, which was started by the organization Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), asks that you put a teal pumpkin outside your house to show that you offer non-edible Halloween treats like toys or glow sticks. This small, simple act can make children with allergies or health conditions feel included in the holiday. Then, add your name to the Teal Pumpkin Project map so families whose children can't enjoy traditional Halloween candies will know where they're welcome on October 31.
For some parents, the scariest thing they can imagine isn't the inevitable Halloween mess, or even trying to corral a child who's hyped up on too much sugar — it's not knowing whether their child will accidentally eat candy he or she is allergic to. You can tell children with peanut allergies how dangerous it would be for them to eat nuts, but you can't always control what another parent will include in their homemade Halloween treats. Placing a teal pumpkin outside your house would not only ensure that a child with food allergies still gets a goodie bag this Halloween, but also that parents have some peace of mind.
“The number of children with food allergies as well as the number of anaphylactic reactions to food have risen dramatically over the last 20 years, and the prevalence of other diseases that cause adverse reactions to food continues to grow as well,” FARE's CEO, Lisa Gable, said in a press release. “Participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project has a collective impact, bringing people together to provide a more inclusive trick-or-treating experience for all."
Adding a teal pumpkin to your stoop doesn't mean you're ditching the old-fashioned candies trick-or-treaters know and love — it just means adding a few extra non-edible goodies to your cart at the grocery store so no child has to go without enjoying Halloween.