Inclusive Trick-or-Treating and the Teal Pumpkin Project


It’s fall, y’all! And Halloween is just around the corner. If you happen to be of the pumpkin-loving breed, you’ve  probably spent the last few weeks pumpkin-izing in all sorts of ways. Pumpkin scents, pumpkin prints, pumpkin-flavored-everything and pumpkin decorations galore. So why not add another special pumpkin into the mix? The teal pumpkin!

It’s likely many of you are already familiar with the teal pumpkin and The Teal Pumpkin Project. Especially if you have a child or a loved one with a food allergy on a restrictive diet. But if you haven’t heard about the teal pumpkin (or just need a reminder), have no fear! I’m here to tell you all about it. 

Pumpkins with a Purpose

The Teal Pumpkin Project is a nationwide, annual awareness campaign and initiative of Food Allergy and Research Education, an organization also known as FARE. The idea is simple. Place a teal pumpkin on your porch to let children with food allergies know they’ll have a safe, non-food treat or trinket available for them at your home. 

Given one in every thirteen children lives with a food allergy, and countless more have other various food intolerances, this initiative creates a positive impact for so many kiddos hoping to enjoy trick-or-treating alongside their peers each year. 

Pretty meaningful, right? 

So, out with the orange and in with the blue (well, technically blue-green). 

You might be asking, “Why teal?” Good question. Teal is the official color for food allergy awareness year round.

How you create your teal pumpkin doesn’t really matter as long as it’s fun! We keep it simple and use acrylic paint while getting the little ones involved. The opportunity for them to take part provides a segue to teach about the meaning of the teal pumpkin and the importance of inclusion. 

No time to paint a teal pumpkin? No problem. 

FARE provides free printable materials, including signs which can be placed on your door or in your yard to indicate you’re a teal pumpkin participant. Easy peasy!

Need non-food treat ideas?

You can find a myriad of non-food treat and trinket ideas here. The options are endless! 

In efforts to encourage eco-conscious living and sustainability at our house (which you can read more about here), we’ve chosen to give out erasers and wooden pencils this year. Useful items without a giant carbon footprint. 

Should you choose to pass out food-containing treats as well, just keep in mind that the nonfood treats and food-containing treats must be kept in separate containers for safety purposes.

Creating Awareness Together 

Aside from actively participating on Halloween night, FARE provides additional resources including adorable flyers and kits which can be used to spread the word in your neighborhood ahead of time. 

A newer feature on the website also allows you to add your address to The Teal Pumpkin Project Map, making it easier for families looking for nonfood treats to navigate their Halloween path. 

Halloween may be spooky, but for those with food allergies, trick-or-treating can feel truly scary! So, I encourage you to take part! Get those teal pumpkins ready and help promote a more inclusive, safe and enjoyable trick-or-treating experience to all of those deserving goblins, ghosts, princesses and superheroes out there this year. 

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Paras is an Iranian American, born in Tehran and raised in Texas. She is now pleased to call Colorado home. She is the mother of two rambunctious boys, a wife to an equally rambunctious husband (genetics!) and a pediatrician. Paras attended medical school at the University of North Texas Health Science Center and went on to complete her pediatric residency training at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. Her special interests include childhood advocacy, healthcare education, and she absolutely loves working with new parents. After having children of her own, she quickly realized that raising kiddos was not as straightforward as many pediatric medical texts or parenting books might imply! She has found it extremely fulfilling to navigate the challenging, yet rewarding world of being a working mom alongside her patients and peers. In her spare time, Paras enjoys hiking, embroidery and is an aspiring yogi on the journey to attaining and maintaining a healthy work-life balance.