By Staff Writer Michaella Lesieur.
October a month filled with sweets and treats leading up to the main hurrah…Halloween! However, for some this is not the case.
It’s difficult for most to imagine what it’s like to not dive into their favorite piece of candy.
Although, The Teal Pumpkin Project is working to provide alternative methods to enjoying the holiday.
The Teal Pumpkin Project is most noted on Food Allergy and Education (FARE) “as an international campaign [developed] in 2014 by FARE, [that] 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…”
Materials are cost effective and include paint, pumpkins and small toys. In order to participate in the project, one must paint a pumpkin teal and in lieu of candy buy budget friendly non-food items.
This could take the shape of: glow sticks, little toys such as plastic rings, play dough and any other little treats.
Target, Party City, Walmart and the Dollar Store are some places in which one can look for little toys on a budget.
Most will offer party packs or in bulk supply.
Julie Forrest the Fundraising and Community Outreach Manager for The American Partnership for Eosinophilic Disorders holds the movement very close to her heart.
“The reason I feel that it is so important that people participate is that I know first-hand, the disappointment on a child’s face that goes trick-or-treating to a house where nothing in the bowl is for them” said Forrest.
“As a mother, it is heartbreaking. If people can offer small, non-food items, fake spiders, tattoos, pencils, erasers, finger puppets and etc. as well as candy in a separate bowl of course, everyone is included, and no one is disappointed. It’s a win win for everyone.”
On the night of Halloween, you will place this pumpkin in a visible place to show you are supporting the mission.
Year after year encourage your neighbors to do the same or at least have this option available.
This will help the mission work as a chain affect and allow the project to expand.
Colleen Plunket an educator in New York City and parent of a son who has severe food allergies has participated in the project for a while.
“I feel the Teal Pumpkin Project is a good idea because too many times kids get candy they are allergic to and it’s unsafe,” Plunkett says.
She continues,“But now they know with the pumpkin they might be able to go and get a safe treat.”
“Maybe, they can even get safe candy. Also, it’s a good place to go since the person has knowledge of other kid’s needs.
It’s less likely that the candy will be dangerous or unsafe even for kids with no allergies. A house doing the Teal Pumpkin Project is a safe house.”
This simple yet fun project will bring about a smile to those who might not be able to celebrate Halloween like others can. For more information about the cause you can visit foodallergy.org.