Teal Pumpkins: A Colorful Tradition of Inclusivity on Halloween
Recently, a Renbrook fifth-grade student demonstrated true agency in leading a project with his classmates to help them understand the Teal Pumpkin Project and increase awareness of food allergies. Every year, as Halloween approaches, neighborhoods are adorned with pumpkins of all shapes, sizes, and colors. One particular pumpkin, though, stands out with its distinctive teal hue. The teal pumpkin has become a symbol of inclusion and a beacon of hope for children with food allergies, making Halloween a safer and more enjoyable holiday for everyone.
Our student shared the following presentation with his classmates in Upper School:
“Who here likes getting candy on Halloween? Halloween is always fun; candy, costumes, meeting new people, going from house to house, and that feeling when you get home and count your loot.
For kids like me with food allergies, Halloween is especially scary. If I were to eat even a snippet from that mountain of candy, it would land me in a hospital and turn that fun night into a terrifying experience. But, if I saw a house with a teal pumpkin, I would be very joyful because the people who own that house are saying, ‘You are safe here, come and get some safe treats.’ This is a big deal because kids like me with allergies can join the fun, not be scared about having a reaction, and enjoy being scared by the costumes or howling jack-o-lanterns.
Hopefully, you have seen some teal pumpkins around campus painted by me and my fifth-grade classmates. When you get home, will you ask your parents to paint a pumpkin teal and give out safe treats such as pencils, erasers, stickers, or bouncy balls? These treats are not only safe but are healthy treats for trick-or-treaters.”
We’re so proud of our student for demonstrating leadership and taking the initiative to increase awareness among our Renbrook families. We took a deeper dive to understand the history and importance of the Teal Pumpkin Project and share that with you here.
The Halloween Teal Pumpkin Project: An Overview
The Teal Pumpkin Project is a campaign that aims to make Halloween more inclusive for children with food allergies. It was launched by Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) in 2014 and has since gained widespread recognition and support. The initiative is based on a simple yet powerful concept: by placing a teal-painted pumpkin or a sign outside your home, you signal that you have non-food treats available for trick-or-treaters who cannot consume traditional candy due to allergies or other dietary restrictions.
Teal was chosen as the color for the campaign for its distinctiveness. The color immediately grabs attention and stands out amidst the sea of orange and black Halloween decorations. This ensures that children with allergies and their parents can easily identify homes that are participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project, creating a safe and welcoming experience for all.
The Impact on Children with Food Allergies
Halloween can be a challenging time for children with food allergies. They often miss out on the fun and excitement of collecting and enjoying candy due to the risk of allergenic ingredients. For these kids, participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project can be a game-changer. When they see a teal pumpkin outside a house, they know that they can trick-or-treat there without the fear of receiving something that could potentially trigger an allergic reaction.
Non-Food Treat Ideas for Halloween
One of the beauties of the Teal Pumpkin Project is its adaptability. Participants have the freedom to choose from a wide variety of non-food treats to offer to children. Some popular alternatives to candy include:
- Stickers and temporary tattoos
- Glow sticks or glow-in-the-dark toys
- Small toys and trinkets
- Mini coloring books and crayons
- Pencils, erasers, and pencil toppers
- Rubber bouncy balls
- Slime or putty
- Scented markers or pens
- Puzzle games and brain teasers
By providing these non-food treats, you’re not only ensuring the safety of children with food allergies but also fostering creativity and fun for all trick-or-treaters.
Getting Involved with the Pumpkin Project
Participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project is easy and fulfilling. Here are some simple steps to get involved:
- Paint a pumpkin teal or obtain a teal pumpkin sign from FARE’s website.
- Place the teal pumpkin or sign outside your home on Halloween.
- Purchase non-food treats to give to trick-or-treaters.
- Spread the word about the Teal Pumpkin Project in your community and on social media to encourage more people to participate.
The Teal Pumpkin Project is a heartwarming initiative that embodies the true spirit of Halloween – inclusivity, kindness, and fun for all. By participating, you’re not only making the holiday safer for children with food allergies but also fostering a sense of belonging and acceptance. So, this Halloween, consider adding a teal pumpkin to your decorations and join the movement that is transforming the way we celebrate this spooktacular holiday!