“Can I have some candy AND a glow bracelet?”
“I’m going to scare my teacher with this plastic spider.”
“Hey mom. This house is cool, they have toys!”
These are some of the comments I heard last Halloween from my little, and not so little, trick-or- treaters.
The most touching was an older boy who asked, “Why do you have a blue pumpkin?” (Well it’s actually supposed to be teal.)
I proceeded to tell him about the Teal Pumpkin Project which encourages people to provide non-food treats for kids with food allergies, or anyone else for that matter, in order to create a safer Halloween experience. I added that our teal pumpkin (the food allergy awareness color) shows families we have such treats like stickers, pencils and bracelets.
He replied, “Wow, that’s cool. That is really thoughtful.” I was pleasantly surprised by his comment. I asked if he had food allergies to which he replied, “No, but I think that it’s a really nice idea.”
That made my night! The empathy and concern he displayed were heartwarming.
Teal Pumpkin Project
As you have probably heard, it is estimated that 1 in 13 children have food allergies so trick-or-treating can be a tricky time for families with food allergies.
The Teal Pumpkin Project, inspired by Food Allergy Community of East Tennessee (FACET), became one of FARE’s nationwide campaigns in 2014. According to FARE, the message is of “awareness, inclusion and community.” They report that last year people participated from 50 states and 14 countries!
If you are interested, you can visit FARE and get more information.
Trick- or- Treating Tips
We’ve been trick or treating at our house for almost 18 years. Here are a few helpful tips and ideas.
▪ Feed children first! Full tummies may find candy less tempting.
▪ Enforce a “No eating” policy while trick-or-treating.
▪ Take along epinephrine auto-injectors (nothing different here), cell phone and flashlight.
▪ Give safe treats to selected neighbors to hand out to your children.
▪ Institute a Halloween Fairy/Witch or other type of bartering system where the kids trade candy for safe candy, toys, books, gift certificates etc.
▪ Have the Great Pumpkin visit overnight and leave safe candy or exchange candy.
▪ If your child is able to touch the candy wrappers, consider having them sort the candy into “safe” and “unsafe” piles upon returning home to help them learn the process of reading labels and identifying safe and unsafe foods.
▪ HAVE FUN!
Trick-or -Treating Alternatives
▪ Have a Halloween or Harvest party instead of trick or treating.
▪ Have a treasure hunt at your house or in your yard with safe treats.
▪ Attend a special theme park, sporting event, aquarium or the zoo.
▪ Have a candy exchange in your neighborhood.
▪ Watch a movie such as It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown.
However you choose to celebrate Halloween, I hope you and your family have a safe and enjoyable time!
As for me, I’m going to see if I have any teal paint from last year and then off to get some glow bracelets, vampire fangs and spider rings which have been the most popular items at our house over the years. (Sorry in advance to teachers).
Do you have any tips to share? Please comment below.
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