You may have started seeing teal painted pumpkins appearing on your social media feeds lately and thought, ‘oh those are pretty’. But, did you know that there is more to it than that? Teal pumpkins are actually symbols of the Teal Pumpkin Project, an initiative started by FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) as a way of helping to protect children with life-threatening food allergies. The idea is to provide non-food treats to hand out during trick-or-treating to those children who might have a food allergy.
As someone with a food allergy causing anaphylactic shock, I’m well aware of the dangers. It saddens me to know that some children aren’t allowed to go trick-or-treating at all because it’s just far too dangerous for them. This project attempts to overcome that issue. FARE suggests that you either hand out only non-food treats or hand out both, keeping them completely separate from each other so as to avoid cross-contamination. Then you can either ask if the child has a food allergy or allow them to choose which they would like – candy or a non-food item. As they state, “The point of the Teal Pumpkin Project™ is to make trick-or-treating as inclusive as possible.”
If you aren’t handing out candy, what could you give out? Here are some suggestions for non-food treats:
I find the dollar stores and party stores to have a wide selection and inexpensive prices for these types of items. If you plan ahead, Oriental Trading Company is also a good source.
- Glow sticks (bonus to these is that they can wear them while out on Halloween night)
- Pencils, crayons, fun erasers, mini notepads – dollar stores like Dollarama always have these in cute Halloween themes at this time of year
- Hand out money! Here in Canada, you can give out loonies and they can go pick out their own treat at the dollar store.
- Mini skeletons – they often have packs of these. They’re stretchy plastic and hang from a string and fun for kids to hang up in their rooms.
- Key chains
- Mini teddy bears
- Vampire fangs, witches’ fingers, novelty lips or mustaches
- Halloween rings with things like skulls and spiders on them, other themed jewelry
- Bouncy balls, mini Slinkies, mini Frisbees, DIY foam model airplanes
- Whistles, horns, kazoos
- Mini colouring books and activity books
- Craft supplies – like a kit to make a little Halloween (or other) pompom creature, a bag of beads and some string, a paint set (the kind you use water with to activate the paints)
- A storybook
- Mini games like the mazes where you try to get the little marble through
- Little bottles of bubbles
- Novelty glasses
- Toy rubber ducks
The Teal Pumpkin Project website shares more ideas too! Not only that, they have free downloads for printable signs, flyers, and other materials to post on your house or to hand out in your neighbourhood.