Have you seen teal colored pumpkin baskets on Trick-or-Treat nights? They have a special purpose. The Teal Pumpkin Project, sponsored by Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE), is part of an awareness effort to provide non-food treats for kids with food allergies.
All children should be able to experience the happy tradition of trick-or-treating on Halloween. But kids with food allergies are either left out or at-risk, since a lot of candy contains allergens. One in every 13 children have food allergies.
FARE’s Teal Pumpkin Project helps ensure all children will get some sort of treat. Last year, households from all 50 states and 14 countries participated. This is a worldwide movement to create a safer, happier Halloween for all trick-or-treaters.
How to participate:
- Provide non-food treats for trick-or-treaters.
- Place a teal pumpkin in front of your home to indicate to you have non-food treats available.
- Display a free printable sign from FARE to explain the meaning of your teal pumpkin.
Ideas for Non-Food Treats
Available at dollar stores, party supply stores, or online shops, these low-cost items can be purchased and handed out to all trick-or-treaters, or made available in a separate bowl from candy if you choose to hand out both options. Nearly all of these items can be found in a Halloween theme or festive colors.
- Glow sticks, bracelets, or necklaces
- Pencils, pens, crayons or markers
- Halloween erasers or pencil toppers
- Mini Slinkies
- Whistles, kazoos, or noisemakers
- Bouncy balls
- Finger puppets or novelty toys
- Spider rings
- Vampire fangs
- Mini notepads
- Playing cards
Frequently Asked Questions about Non-Food Treats (from FARE website)
Are there any non-food treats that I should avoid?
There are a few considerations when choosing which non-food items to hand out. First, some non-food items still contain food allergens, such as some brands of moldable clay, which may contain wheat. Additionally, try to choose latex-free items, as there are children who have latex allergies.
Can I still pass out candy?
Sure – just do it safely! The point of the Teal Pumpkin Project® is to make trick-or-treating as inclusive as possible. You can keep the experience safe by keeping your food treats and non-food treats in separate bowls.
If I’m handing out candy and non-food treats, how do I determine which treat to give to each trick-or-treater?
You can either ask trick-or-treaters if they have any food allergies, or give every visitor a choice of which treat they’d like: candy or a non-food item. FARE has signs to help you, including one that says “You Pick: Candy or Prize.”
Do kids really like non-food treats?
They don’t just like them, they love them! Finding a unique treat at your house will be a fun surprise. Glow bracelets, for example, are a great option. They are inexpensive, kids can wear them throughout the night, and parents are appreciative because they help make kids more visible after nightfall. Other non-food items, such as pencils and stickers, can be used at home and at school long after candy has run out or expired.
You can join the Teal Pumpkin Project to help create a safer, happier Halloween for all kids.
“The TEAL PUMPKIN PROJECT® and the Teal Pumpkin Project® logo are registered trademarks of Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE).”
Food Allergy Research and Education: http://www.foodallergy.org/teal-pumpkin-project/about#.WAo2ZdUrKpo
Adapted by: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County
Reviewed by: Joanna Fifner, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Medina County