Teal is the New Orange & Black: Including Children with Food Allergies in Halloween Traditions

. October 1, 2016.
Findlay’s Teal Pumpkin Project leader Halley Sullivan with 
her chidren Henry and Jack, and husband Danny.
Findlay’s Teal Pumpkin Project leader Halley Sullivan with her chidren Henry and Jack, and husband Danny.

Halley Sullivan is on a crusade of Trick-or-Treat inclusiveness through the Teal Pumpkin Project. The nationwide project, begun in 2014 by FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education,) aims to help the 1-in-13 children with food allergies Trick-or-Treat with reduced risk of harmful exposure.

How to Help

Participating households place a pumpkin painted teal—the color designates food allergy awareness—on their porch to signify to Trick-or-Treaters that they will be offering NON-FOOD treats, such as stickers, bubbles, or glow bracelets. FARE’s website has a free, downloadable sign to print and post on your door or window to notify Trick-or-Treaters, as well as a flyer to distribute to neighbors and share via social media #tealpumpkinproject.

Providing Options

The project “is more inclusive than just kids with food allergies,” Sullivan points out. Children with celiac disease, or who are diabetic, autistic, or otherwise follow restricted diets could also benefit. Parents of toddler Trick-or-Treaters might prefer reducing candy without reducing fun. FARE’s website explains that their goal is not to “exclude candy from the Halloween tradition, our goal is simply to ensure that children with food allergies—and other children for whom candy is not an option—are able to enjoy a safer, happier Halloween.”

Spreading the Word

The Facebook page Sullivan started in 2015 reached 250 “likes” by last Halloween season, raising local awareness of The Teal Pumpkin Project. She also spread the word via TV spots, radio, and newspaper. She and volunteers marched in Findlay’s 2015 Halloween Parade, handing out more than 150 teal glow sticks and flyers. Sullivan was excited by “the goodness of our community” and local families’ desire to help kids with food allergies feel included.

For information, visit the FARE website, foodallergy.org,
or the “Findlay Teal Pumpkin Project” page on Facebook.

Teal-Pumpkin-Project_2

The Findlay Chapter of MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) is hosting a Teal Pumpkin Project panel from 7-9pm on Oct. 12 at First Presbyterian Church in the Fellowship Hall. The event is free and open to the community. Local TEAL Pumpkin Organizer Halley Sullivan will speak about the Project along with handling food allergies at school and during the holidays. Local Allergist Dr. Amber Patterson will speak about support groups and the medical aspect of food allergies.