Add a little fun to trick-or-treating this Halloween with Teal Pumpkin Project participation. Joining is simple, fun and it supports a great cause… making Halloween happy and safe for all kids.
You may have noticed some strange blue pumpkins popping up in neighbor’s yards over the last few years. They all seem to be the same shade of blue and a lot of people are asking:
→ What does a blue pumpkin mean?
The first thing you need to know is the pumpkins are actually a teal blue color. This is because teal is the color used for food allergy awareness.
→ What does a teal pumpkin mean?
A teal pumpkin means they will be handing out non-food Halloween treats to trick or treaters. Many people who participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project hand out both candy and non food treats.
I enjoy having a bowl of candy and a bowl of toys and letting the kids choose whichever they prefer.
The Teal Pumpkin Project is all about making trick-or-treating fun for all kids, including those with food allergies and for kids who can’t have candy.
What’s great about participating in Teal Pumpkin, is that all the children get excited about options other than candy too.
Having a severe or life-threatening food allergy can be difficult and isolating for children and their families. Halloween is a rare time that neighbors can offer support and show they care by participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project.
Any event centered around food is challenging for adults and children with food related health issues. Kids can feel different and left out when they have allergies that most people don’t worry about.
Holidays, like Halloween, are a time when we all want kids to forget about their problems, get to feel carefree like the other kids, and form fun exciting memories that will last forever. Being able to go trick or treating and keep many of the prizes they collect makes going door to door more fun for children.
The Teal Pumpkin was started in Tennessee by Becky Basalone. She is the Founder and Director of the nonprofit Food Allergy Community of East Tennessee (FACET).
In 2014, Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) partnered with Becky, and her ideas went National with the Teal Pumpkin Project.
Below are some Teal Pumpkin Project treat ideas that are non-food items. However, the goal isn’t to remove candy from Halloween. I like to give out candy in one bowl and the non-food Halloween treats in another bowl.
The important thing is to keep the Teal Pumpkin items separate from the candies because mixing them in one bowl can be dangerous for kids with severe allergies.
There are so many fun low cost Halloween items that kids love getting on Halloween night. I usually go to the 99 Cent Store, order on Amazon, and occasionally hit a Target store.
Pick and choose your favorites from the list below, choose your preferred store and get started!
1. Glow Bracelet
Glow bracelets and glow necklaces are a great non-food Halloween treat because the kids can use them while trick-or-treating. The glow bracelet is fun and makes the children more visible too.
2. Glow Sticks
Glow sticks are great and like glow bracelets, the kids can use them while trick-or-treating on Halloween night.
3. Halloween Pencils
Kids are in school, so why not give out cool Halloween pencils. Plus it’s fun watching them take time to choose their favorite pencil on Halloween night.
4. Halloween Erasers
I’m a sucker for an exciting eraser and there are great Halloween eraser designs.
5. Spider Rings
I hate spiders, but spider rings add a cool creepy vibe to the non-food Halloween treats bowl.
6. Creepy Bugs
Add some creepiness to your Halloween prizes with bugs. Bugs are great for Halloween and a lot of kids love them.
7. Rubber Bats
You can’t go wrong handing out black rubber bats on Halloween. Whatever the kids don’t take, you can use as decorations for the house.
I’m not sure why, but the colorful eyeglass frames are one of the first items to go each year. Maybe because the kids can put them on as an addition to their Halloween costume.
9. Halloween Stickers
Kids love stickers, end of story.
10. Bouncy Balls
Kids seem to enjoy bouncy balls and these get taken early every year.
11. Mini Notebooks
The best thing about mini notebooks is that the writing is so small, adults can’t read it.
12. Mini Slinky
This is a fun gift you want to have but don’t want to buy for yourself. Everyone can enjoy a mini slinky toy.
13. Vampire Fangs
It’s Halloween, of course the kids need vampire fangs.
Children of all ages can enjoy bubbles. They are fun!
15. Mini Mazes
They don’t make enough of these. Mini mazes are always fun, but are hard to find.
16. Bendable Halloween Characters
Looking to be the coolest house on the block? These Halloween characters will do it.
17. Glow in the Dark Bugs
I was mesmerized by little glow in dark dinosaur toys when I was a kid, and I still love glow in the dark toys now. Children enjoy these at bedtime.
Avoid Play dohs because they can contain wheat or gluten.
Every meal and every day can be a struggle, or at the very least a hassle, for many of these families. Being able to trick-or-treat like everybody else is a BIG deal and I hope to spread the word and help spread awareness to get more people excited about Teal Pumpkin Participation.
This is what motivated me to join the first year of the Teal Pumpkin Project, but it’s not entirely what keeps me coming back.
Surprisingly, most of the kids trick-or-treating near me like the bowl of “stuff” as much as the bowl of candy. At my place, we usually tell kids to take two items (sometimes 3 or 4 depending on the crowd and how late in the night it is) and hold out both bowls so they can choose what they want.
One bowl has a pretty good selection of candies (Reeses Cups, Snickers, Skittles, etc.) because I like variety, and the other bowl has a good selection of non-food Halloween treats (erasers, pencils, glow necklaces, bugs, etc.)
Each year kids of all ages dig through the stuff and pick out a pencil, spider ring, glow stick or other toy items they want. Some kids grab one of each.
I was surprised the children would want anything other than candy. However, since every house is handing out candy it’s probably a fun change.
Each year I have been adding more and more stuff to the non-food Halloween treats bowl, which is now bigger than the candy bowl. It has added an element of fun to Halloween because now I go shopping for little items instead of just grabbing bags of candy.
Teal Pumpkin Project participation is easy! There are only two things you have to do to join and participate this Halloween.
No problem! If you don’t have the paint or the time to paint your own teal pumpkin, there are other options available.
FARE has partnered with stores like CVS, Michaels, Mello Smello, Fun World, Market Street, and Free2B. They sell Pumpkin Master’s Teal Pumpkin Painting Kit’s and Light Up Plastic Teal Jack-o-Lanterns at some locations.
Another option is to print out a free Teal Pumpkin Sign (see below) and place it out front or on your door. You can also get turquoise craft paper and cut it into the shape of a pumpkin. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just fun.
These are all free ways to get more involved in spreading the word about Teal Pumpkin Project participation this Halloween. They are optional free resources made available by the Teal Pumpkin Project at FARE, but they aren’t required to participate.
Scroll up to How to Participate in Teal Pumpkin Project for the two simple steps of participation.
Now that you’ve decided to participate, there is a great way to let families with allergies know. FARE has made a free online Teal Pumpkin Project Map that people can add their street, household or neighborhood to.
I like to add myself to the map each year to show support to friends and neighbors who may be silently struggling with food allergies. You can check out the free map here.
I like to print out a Teal Pumpkin sign (add pic from purple folder) and put it out front to help spread the word about what a Teal Pumpkin means. FARE offers free signs, flyers, yard signs, and Teal Pumpkin Kid’s Activities Sheets on their Free Resources Page.
They have a lot of great print outs and guides available for anyone who wants to get more involved.
A big part of a successful Teal Pumpkin Project campaign is spreading the word so more people participate and hand out non-food treats each year. For this reason, social media is a simple way to spread awareness.
FARE has a great page with social media images for Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. They offer a profile picture icon, a cover photo, a support badge and pics to get you started sharing at #tealpumpkinproject!
They also offer a downloadable Teal Pumpkin Project email signature.
FARE does not have an official list of goals for the Teal Pumpkin Project, so I’ve put this together based on information found on their website.
• Promote Halloween trick or treating participation for more children.
• Create a safer happier Halloween for all kids and families.
• Raise awareness about food allergies.
Handing out non-food Halloween treats like toys or Halloween stickers is helpful to kids with food allergies, but there are many other children who benefit too.
Any kids who must limit their sugar or candy intake can enjoy trick-or-treating for prizes instead of candy.
Here are some reasons why kids may benefit from non-food Halloween treats:
• Food Allergies
• Celiac Disease
• Eosinophilic Gastroenteritis
• Eosinophilic Esophagitis
• Food Intolerances
• Special Diet Requirements
• Parents want to avoid Food Dyes
• Parents want to avoid sugar
I recommend checking out the official FARE Teal Pumpkin Project website, which is linked all through this page. They have the latest information, the teal pumpkin project map, great information and lots of free resources available. The FARE Teal Pumpkin Project website can also answer any additional questions you have about this topic.
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