For some kids the scariest part of Halloween can often be what’s inside their candy pail. For anyone that has ever had to worry about a loved one’s allergy, they fear this too. Nut allergies, as well as many other food issues, seem to be on this rise these days. So, when it comes to Halloween, parents’ don’t want to leave their little monsters out in the cold when it comes to the time honored rite-of-passage known as Trick-or-Treating; but they also don’t want to cap off the night with a visit to the emergency room. That’s why the Teal Pumpkin Project was started.
Started by FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education) in 2014, this project “provides an alternative for kids with food allergies, as well as other children for whom candy is not an option, and keeps Halloween a fun, positive experience. Participating in the campaign is as simple as painting a pumpkin teal, buying inexpensive non-food treats such as glow sticks or small toys and placing the teal pumpkin on your doorstep to show non-food treats are available. FARE’s goal in 2017 is to have at least one home on every block in the U.S. with a teal pumpkin. (Courtesy of the FARE website)”
This is where you come in. If you would like to participate, the FARE website has plenty of ideas on what you can substitute out for candy. However, I would take some of their ideas a step further, and dress it all up with a nice green tint. Glow Sticks for example aren’t necessarily great for the environment, the plastic tubing alone is just destined for a non-recycled future. So, think outside the box. For example, small boxes of playing cards can usually be found at party supplies stores, and even the Dollar Store sometime. Whatever you decide to contribute to the allergy friendly mix will help, just make sure the you register on the FARE site as a participating house though, so that parent’s in your area know where to go.
The other piece to the puzzle is, of course, you sporting a TEAL pumpkin on your porch to also announce your participation. Now, the FARE website suggests that you “simply paint a pumpkin Teal.” Well, that sounds nice and all, unless you’re also trying to be green at the same time. If you’re willing to make sure that you’ve chosen an Eco-friendly paint that is low/no VOC, and is also non-toxic to local wildlife that might encounter it once it’s thrown away, then great. Oh, but it’s just a couple of days before Halloween, and you don’t have any of that special stuff on hand? Then do what all would-be pumpkin painters should do, and DON’T!
I’ve written about this problem before, and sadly this still seems to always pop up on decorating websites year-after-year. Painting pumpkins can lead to plenty of problems once they’re not on your porch. In place of this horrible option, try one of these other options. First, there’s the ready-made TEAL pumpkin that’s available at most CVS stores. Yes, it’s plastic, but it already sports that Jack-o-Lantern face, and can be used for many more Halloweens to come. Second, there’s the DIY pumpkin option that you see above, which is a foam, carvable TEAL pumpkin that can be found at Target Stores. This allows you to still have the multi-year use, while also giving you the creative freedom to design the Jack-o-Lantern of your dream (or um nightmares, depending on what you have in mind). Finally, if you’d like to go the totally natural route, then you might try locating a Blue Pumpkin (according to pumpkinnook.com these are also known as Australian Blue Pumpkins, or Jaradale). These more rare pumpkins are a light blue color, but in a pinch could stand in as your TEAL house marker. If you can’t locate one this year, you could always try to grow one for yourself next year, and make a Eco-friendly family project out of it.
No matter how you participate this year (or next year for that matter), the key is to do something. While you’re at it, you just might serve as inspiration for others to find out more, and become participants themselves. Who knows, you might just start a TEAL trend while you’re at it (just make sure to add a dash of green too 😉
Happy Halloween Everyone!