I have food intolerances and allergies. If you read my blog or know me personally, this is nothing new. I consider myself lucky that my issues came about as a result of an infection and may clear up over time. I am also not overly concerned with eating the wrong thing because I know how to ask what’s in my food and I know how to read a food label. The same cannot be said for children with food allergies. When these children go to school, attend birthday parties, and even go trick-or-treating on Halloween, they are at risk and the worry that their parents experience is of life-and-death concern. Kids with food allergies can have a reaction from candy that contains common allergens such as milk (most chocolate), wheat (did you know Twizzlers licorice is made with wheat?), and nuts (the list is endless). Some kids develop hives, but some have a more severe reaction, such as anaphylaxis, just from touching the candy package.
Halloween is around the corner, and for parents of kids with food allergies, this holiday can truly be a nightmare. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the parents were able to take their children trick-or-treating and know that they would be safe from harm due to an adverse reaction? If we as members of each other’s “village” took just one small step to ease the minds of these parents, imagine how many children could enjoy the fun and spooky holiday without the risk of the “trick” of food allergies. Well, now we can!
FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) has come up with a wonderful program to encourage the safety of kids with food allergies. The Teal Pumpkin Project is aimed at supporting these families by offering non-food treats on Halloween, while also raising awareness about families who are managing food allergies. Simply paint a pumpkin teal and put it on your front porch or at the base of your driveway, or hang this flyer on your door, and it will serve as a sign to those families that your house is safe to visit because you will have non-food treats for those kids seeking them.
Here are some ideas for non-food treats that can be found online or at your local party store:
- fun-printed bandages
- costume necklaces and rings
- glow bracelets
- coins for charity
- vampire fangs
- Halloween themed pens and pencils
- small craft kits
I plan to hang the flyer on my mailbox and have a teal pumpkin on my front porch to support my fellow food intolerant and allergic friends in my neighborhood. I hope this will become a new tradition in my community and around the country. It also wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if candy wasn’t available at every house, but that’s the nutritionist in me talking.
Wishing you all a safe and happy Halloween!
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