Saturday, October 18, 2014

We're Taking Part in the Teal Pumpkin Project

I LOVE Halloween. Everything about it makes me smile, from the decorations to the costumes to the candy.

A few years ago my love for Halloween was tested when my toddler son went on a gluten and dairy free diet.

Halloween became a nightmare. Every piece of candy in his treat bag was a potential danger to him, and he was still too young to understand why he couldn't eat most of it. I spent forever going through each candy in his bag, still too new to the process to have a grasp on what was safe and what wasn't. What should have been a fun night was a scary, stressful one for me.

It's gotten better over the years as I've gotten used to the process, but that doesn't mean that he still doesn't end up with almost three-quarters of his candy put in the "unsafe" pile. It would be amazing if he could choose from safe options at least some of the time while he's out Trick or Treating.

So when I heard about the Food Allergy Research & Education's (FARE) Teal Pumpkin Project, I knew I had to get on board. The purpose of the project is to raise awareness of food allergies while simultaneously making Halloween a little bit easier for kids with allergies by providing non-food Halloween treat options. Setting a teal pumpkin outside your door signals to parents managing allergies that there are allergy-friendly options available.

In addition to the pumpkin, there is a printable poster available to post on your door to let families know what the teal pumpkin is all about. While Celiac disease is not a food allergy, Celiac and other gluten free kids face similar struggles when faced with bowls of potentially unsafe candies to choose from. Also, wheat allergies remain in the top ten of children's allergies. I think it's important to support all children with food restrictions.

My Non-Food Bowl

This is a simple but effective way to support families, raise awareness, and make Halloween that much more enjoyable and safe for children with allergies. We will still be handing out candy at our house, but in addition I've already bought a variety of stickers, spinning tops, bracelets, bubbles, and other inexpensive non-food items that I'll have available in a separate bowl.

I encourage you to get on board as well. No need to replace EVERYTHING, but having a small bowl of non-food items available is a great way to make every child feel included on Halloween. And isn't that what it's all about?

Send me a photo of YOUR teal pumpkin and I'll post it on Instagram!

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