Trick or treating. It seems pretty simple, right? If you want to pass out candy to the kids on Halloween, you just run over to your local supermarket and toss one of those gimongous bags of itty bitty snickers into your cart. Then you come home, fill a bowl and wait for your doorbell to ring.
But . . what if that kid happens to have an allergy to the nuts, dairy, egg or soy in that Snickers bar? Possibly one so severe that a single bite could throw them into anaphylactic shock . .
With nearly six million kids under the age of 18 now suffering from food allergies in this country, this is becoming more and more of an issue that needs to be addressed.
Gone are the carefree days of my 80’s youth when food allergies were rare, and pretty much every kid out there could pop a Snickers bar in their mouth without a second thought.
Sure, we could just say, “Whatever, not my problem.” But for millions of moms out there, it truly is a dilemma that they can’t just wish away. Doesn’t every kid deserve to have good memories of this treasured American holiday to look back upon?
So let’s find out how we can be a part of the solution. Enter The Teal Pumpkin Project.
The Teal Pumpkin Project
When you set out a teal colored pumpkin on your front step, you are basically agreeing to offer an alternative to food items when you receive trick-or-treaters.
So what exactly could these “non-food items” be? Well, they could be almost any trinket you come across that isn’t food. But personally, as a green mama, I try to make my suggestions as eco-friendly as possible so as not to contribute in bulk to the landfills. Here is my list of candy alternatives you can give to kids this Halloween.
Store bought candy alternatives for Halloween
1. Sprout pencils that can actually be planted (when they are sharpened down to a nub) to grow an herb!
2. Temporary tattoos w/veggie based dyes, making them free from toxins
3. Eraser puzzles, or any type of erasers
11. Sidewalk chalk
12. Mini notebooks
13. Thrifted Toy cars (you can often find a bag full at your thrift store)
A tad more work (make it a fun project w/the kids):
2. Fabric fortune cookies for those of you who can sew a little
5. Or do something really fun and provide a holiday themed game or activity.
6. Set up a pumpkin ring toss, using whatever ring shapes you have (mason jar rings, game rings, glow bracelets, etc) to toss onto a pumpkin’s stem.
7. Have a pumpkin painting area with paints, brushes, stencils & some old t-shirt smocks
8. Put together a scavenger hunt for kids to fill out as they trick or treat
Ok, so you have the treats, now what about the teal pumpkin; how do you get one of those?
How to participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project
Where to get your pumpkin
To participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project you need to also find a pumpkin and get on the map. For the pumpkin, a little browsing at pinterest.com will give you an abundance of ideas. Here are a few different ways to go:
Paint a real or thrifted ceramic pumpkin in a teal color
Add a message in paint, sequins, etc, if you like (i.e. Allergy friendly, Boo, etc)
Feel free to get creative, but try not to go too crazy or it may be harder to identify it as a teal pumpkin project pumpkin.
Get on the map of participants
How will families know that you are a teal pumpkin participant? Well, luckily, FARE has set up a map that helps families locate all the teal pumpkins near any address. Simply type the address in and it pulls up a list. Check out the map here.
So don’t forget to sign your home up as a teal pumpkin participant as well!
And, if you would like a little extra help getting noticed, then use this link to choose from a variety of signs that you can print out to announce your participation to passersby.
You’re all set!
You’ve got the teal pumpkin, the signs, the non-food treats, AND you’re on the map. You’re all set to give ALL the kids the Halloween they deserve. Ding dong, trick or treat!