Teal Pumpkin Project: Keeping children with allergies safe on Halloween

Staff report

MCLEAN, Va. — Although Halloween looks different this year, FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education), the world’s leading non-governmental organization engaged in food allergy advocacy and the largest private funder of food allergy research, announced the continuation of its renowned Teal Pumpkin Project.

The initiative aims to raise awareness surrounding food allergies by making Halloween safer and more inclusive for all trick-or-treaters while remaining mindful of the challenges presented by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, Scioto County, Portsmouth, New Boston and others have announced that Trick or Treat will be held this year on Saturday, Oct. 31 from 5 to 7 p.m. Times are subject to change or be canceled due to COVID-19.

“As families determine how to safely celebrate Halloween this year, FARE is reminding parents to make these celebrations as inclusive as possible for all children, including those with food allergies,” said Lisa Gable, chief executive officer of FARE. “Earlier this year we launched Living TealTM, an initiative driven by inclusivity to grow our community and raise awareness of food allergies, but also inspired by the wonderful success we have seen with Teal Pumpkin in years past and a desire to make every day and every holiday more accessible to everyone.”

The Teal Pumpkin Project encourages participants to place a teal pumpkin in front of their homes to show they have non-food treats available for children with food allergies or necessary dietary restrictions. Many popular Halloween candies contain nuts, milk, egg, soy, wheat or sesame, which are among the most common allergens. Additionally, many miniature candy items do not have labels and may be formulated or manufactured differently than full-sized candies of the same brand, making it difficult to determine whether these items are safe.

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have declared the traditional Halloween celebration of trick-or-treating a high-risk activity, FARE has created an online hub for families to find resources, spark creativity, and take the Teal Pumpkin Pledge, all aimed to keep the spirit of Halloween alive without the risk of COVID-19. The Teal Pumpkin Pledge is a new offering from FARE and the Teal Pumpkin Project that helps those wishing to participate in Halloween celebrations stay safe. By taking the Teal Pumpkin Pledge, participants receive a “Teal Pumpkin Pledge Certificate” they can display on their windows or doors to show their neighbors and friends that they are committed to a safe Halloween. In the spirit of keeping Halloween safe for all, FARE will also be launching a series of online contests across social media, with the hashtag #TealPumpkinContest, to show everyone that you can still celebrate Halloween without traditional trick-or-treating.

“We encourage families all over the country to embrace the Teal Pumpkin in their Halloween festivities this year and every year,” added Gable. “Whether you trick or treat, party with your pod or celebrate in another creative but safe and socially-distanced way, adding the Teal Pumpkin to your celebration goes an awfully long way to supporting the 5.6 million American children living with food allergies, showing that you have non-food treats available and that they can feel safe celebrating this fun holiday with you.”

Among the many resources that FARE shares on its website is an interactive map to help families determine the relative risk of participating in Halloween activities in counties across the country.

To learn more about the Teal Pumpkin Project, visit www.tealpumpkinproject.org.


Staff report