“What the Teal” Raising Awareness of Food Allergies

teal food allergies

Halloween is a time for horror movies, haunted houses, spooky décor and, best of all, trick o’ treating! For some families, however, Halloween can be a scary time of the year, although not for the reasons one might immediately think. Families managing food allergies are often left wondering how to balance safety with a positive trick o’ treating experience.

According to Food Allergy Research & Education or FARE, approximately 1 in 13 children are affected by food allergies. Such allergens include the major eight, which are milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat. Most of the candies handed out during Halloween have such allergens included in their ingredient list or have been manufactured in a facility that also processes these allergens. If a parent or child managing food allergies come into contact with any of these foods, it may result in anaphylaxis or possibly death. The TEAL Pumpkin Project was established to avoid such a painful and life-altering event from occurring during Halloween.

Originally founded in 2014 by the Food Allergy Community of East Tennessee, it has since been run as a national campaign by FARE. The project promotes the inclusion of those families trick o’ treating with food allergies. Instead of passing out candy, the project encourages providing non-food alternatives such as crayons, coloring books, small toys, pencils, stickers and glow sticks. Using the color teal associated with food allergy awareness, those participating in the project can leave a teal painted pumpkin outside of their door as a sign to the community that non-food treats are being offered.

If you’re interested in joining the TEAL Pumpkin Project this Halloween season, feel free to paint a pumpkin teal and fill the nearest cauldron with some non-food goodies to pass around! Have a happy and safe Halloween!

By Cynthia Madden