By Vicki Little
Halloween is supposed to be a carefree and fun celebration for children. It’s an excuse to dress up, hang out with friends, and collect lots of candy. But for about 1 in 13 children in the US — or about two kids per classroom — Halloween means being extra cautious, and not just because of the scary decorations. Every piece of candy that’s placed in these kids’ buckets has to be checked by a parent to make sure it’s safe for them to eat, no matter who gives it to them. The problem isn’t just nut allergies. There’s diabetes and Celiac disease, among other conditions, to consider. So what are we supposed to do? Cancel Halloween to avoid any potential dangers for this minority of kids? Nobody is suggesting that, but there are things we can do to help every child enjoy trick-or-treating, and joining the Teal Project is perhaps the easiest of things to do.
This is the second year of the Teal Pumpkin Project, which was launched by the Food Allergy Research & Education organization (FARE). The project encourages people to place a teal-painted pumpkin outside their door or print and post a flyer to signal that there are non-food treats available at that house.
It is such a simple thing to do, but the gesture will mean so much to those children and their families. Everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy a fun Halloween, where the thrills and chills are limited to haunted houses and not trips to the emergency room. The Teal Pumpkin Project allows for exactly that.
You can still hand out candy, too, (but perhaps a non-sugary treat will be a pleasant surprise for kids and parents), and the non-food treats don’t need to be big. Spider rings, temporary tattoos, erasers, pencils, coins, plastic bracelets, bouncy balls, stickers, bubbles, glow necklaces or wands — or pretty much anything that you can buy in bulk at the dollar store will be perfect. Just make sure to keep the allergy-free treats separate from the food items!
Check out more about the Teal Pumpkin Project:
Vicki Little is a work-at-home mom with two young kids. A Colorado native, she is the Publisher and Editor of Macaroni Kid Aurora and Downtown Denver. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering, reading, camping, or enjoying a bottle of wine with friends.
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