I love Halloween, don’t you? When else can you go to people’s houses in a disguise and beg for candy? Actually my daughter does this on a weekly basis, but I digress. It is so exciting for kids to run up to houses to see what that house is offering- full size snickers? “fun” size m&ms? or those gross Dots? Then later comes the real excitement when they dump their loot out of their little plastic pumpkins or pillowcases if you were a trick or treat rockstar like I was. The ensuing trading, counting, and sorting and of course distracting kids so you can swipe a mini peanut butter cup..or 4 is magical and the joy makes all those hours of “wait, I thought you wanted to be Snow White..now you want to be a Shopkin, what is a Shopkin?……” I think my favorite part of parenting might be finding all those candy bars that might have razor blades in them- “I just don’t know for sure, better to be safe than sorry. I’ll inspect them later after you go to bed….”
Now imagine your kid is one of the 1 in 13 of kids with an allergy. Imagine they cannot touch much less eat that delicious mouthwatering peanut cup. Imagine that they cannot enjoy MOST of what is in their treat bags. Can you imagine how much that must suck? Not just for the kid, but for the parent who has to explain to their 5 year why they can’t eat candy that is right in front of their eyes.
Now I don’t, thankfully, have a child with any serious allergies, but I have a soul, so I care about kids who do and hopefully you feel similarly bothered by this issue….
**Enter the Teal Pumpkin Project**
The Teal Pumpkin Project was started as a way to allow kids with allergies to enjoy Halloween with their friends and stay safe. Basically, a teal pumpkin outside someone’s home indicates they have NON FOOD prizes for kids. It might be a separate bucket for kids to choose either a prize or candy or it might just be all non-food. It also raises awareness about Food Allergies. I heard about this a couple years ago and LOVED it. It seems to get bigger every year and I think this is an amazing trend. Ok cool right? You are on board?
Where to start-
STEP ONE- get some non-food ideas You can buy most of this stuff in bulk-
- plastic jewelry- spiders are really on trend
- pencils with erasers
- Halloween BB mazes- like these 12 for 1.75
- Small packs of crayons-
- kazoos- although prepared to be egged by some unhappy parents if you go this route
- you can always go over the top- we have a lady who gives kids BOOKS every year
- Coloring books- again in bulk 12 bucks for 72 which is cheaper than a lot of the candy you buy (and less temptation for you!)
-Places to get NON-food prizes in Bulk-
- Amazon- obviously… and you probably have a prime membership
- Oriental Trading
- Dollar tree -Both online and in real life
- The Dollar bins at Target- you KNOW you will be there this weekend anyway…
If you choose to give out candy AND prizes PLEASE PLEASE keep them separate!!
STEP TWO- Advertise your teal pumpkin project participation and say that 5 times fast
Make sure people KNOW your house is participating!
- Get a teal pumpkin here since you know you probably won’t end up painting an orange one teal. That seems like a lot of effort…
- Pinterest ideas for you crafty folks..
- Add your house to the map
STEP THREE- Spread the word! Last year 18,000 homes in 50 states participated. That can be even more this year!
- Encourage other parents to get involved. Just talking about this issue at the pick up line or the park helps spread awareness.
- Ask your child’s school (and teacher) if they would help promote Teal Pumpkin. Many schools are really aiming for “all inclusive” stuff so this would be a great way for them to put their words into action!
- This is a great opportunity for our kids to learn empathy and compassion. It is easy for them to imagine NOT being able to eat a certain candy bar! Here are some activities for kids. Kids’ Activities
- Distribute Signs and posters to spread the word
- SHARE this post on social media. I mean I made it super easy with all my great links right?
- Follow PlaydatesandProtests on Facebook. I will be posting more about Teal Pumpkin as it gets closer… including short little shareables…
If you still want to be inclusive, but don’t want to give out non-food items here is a list of low- allergy candy that you can distribute. These candies are free of peanut, tree nut, dairy, egg, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish ingredients.
PARENTS OF KIDS WITH ALLERGIES-
If you are an allergy parent I am not going to start giving you tips, you are already an expert in keeping your child safe. I would recommend using a teal pumpkin carrier like this >>>>>
You can find them here at Amazon because of course you can. This will help people like me KNOW that your child has an allergy and automatically give them a non food item.