Teal Pumpkin Halloween 2018.
This is a Teal Pumpkin.
They are super cheap to buy and cheaper still to make and the most awesome decor you could have on your porch this Halloween.
You can pick them up at a craft store for about ten bucks, or get one at a dollar store for less. Hell, you can paint a pumpkin or draw one on construction paper.
It’s not hard to do this.
Teal Pumpkins… are one of the least expensive gestures you can make that can impact a child forever … in one day…
Our first year. He went as a football. I wore a Jersey. Parenting, before food allergy, still had all the carefree of Holiday outings. Plus, let’s face it, every piece of candy was for me.
Our second year, he was a hunter. That time, it had changed. But he was young enough that mommy could just step in to say “no” and he would get enough anyway.
Then he was three…
An Incredible Hulk who did a Trunk or Treat. The games mattered the most. As long as the kids had some fun. The prizes didn’t matter at all.
But the rewards they offered, the only ones they had on hand…the candies and chocolates in those little bags…. I knew the next year would get harder. And every year after that.
At four he was sucking blood as a vampire with painted nails and all.
He moved right passed most the games… because all they offered was something he couldn’t enjoy.
And five showed up. And now he is Bat Man. Able to conquer anything in his path … but a bowl of Snickers and Peanut M&Ms.
He was gracious and kind as he said “never mind”. Some would roll their eyes at this seemingly ungrateful boy — refusing them and their free gesture as he walked away from their porch.
I would tell them my child was allergic to nuts — then reminded him to keep his chin up.
What happened next, he still talks about to this day. We didn’t even get two houses away… and there she was… running down the street. Catching up to him… quarters in her hands for his bag. “Wait… wait! I’m so sorry, I didn’t even think about that..I promise you…I will from now on!”
The surprise and joy in his eyes… meant so much. Allergy parents know most everything when it comes to being out in public is education and awareness. My child knows it is no fault of anyone else that there isn’t free candy for him on a porch.
I told him, with each year he grows, more and more people will know.
Then, he was six, with a costume that still fit. His agency and advocacy in full swing. This time, he just walked on up all on his own. He’d look and smile and say “Thank you, but no…Have a Happy Halloween!”
Quite a few homes he had to turn down. Some would again ask me why, as he moved along to the next door — by now, knowing the routine… I, in diplomacy would look back and just say “food allergy”.
We knew the odds meant he would get home with more than enough than he ever wanted and nothing he needed and we know we’ve scored our share of Skittles, Starburst and Tootsie Rolls. We have no complaints. We just want to people to know.
That’s what our Teal Pumpkin is for.
My son is now seven and walking the mile to gather the treats is either something we do or we don’t. He has his costume decided, he has his expectations in check. He knows he will have fun and he knows not every household will have what he can.
A part of him wants to stay home and be the ones who make it Halloween for every child who comes knocking on our decorated door.
And yet, he also wants so badly to walk the neighborhood and hedge his bets — that his bucket will be full of tons of treats, just like his friends.
He isn’t after the King Size Snickers Bar or how many Reese’s Cups he can grab with one hand. He just wants to know maybe there are Dum-Dums or a fake tattoo for his arm or his leg.
He asked me to buy this pumpkin for our porch. Said, at our house, we had to offer both.
We can’t afford to go all out. So, we’ll get stickers, glow in the dark bracelets, maybe plastic spiders or anything else we can grab cheap and toss in a bowl.
I mean, it’s trick or treat, a pretty super low maintenance holiday where literally the only goal is seeing a kid dressed as an Avenger, Disney Princess or dinosaur — and them remembering your house is the one they absolutely know.
You could do it or could not. Totally your call. I’m just asking you to consider there’s not a lot to lose and a whole lot to gain… when you’ve got a Teal Pumpkin and a child running towards your porch instead of turning away…
Find out more about the Teal Pumpkin Project® at F.A.R.E.
Add your porch to the Teal Pumpkin Project® Map
Turn It Teal All Year
- Food allergies affect upwards of 8% of children in the United States alone. Researchers estimate that up to 5.9 million children under age 18 have food allergies. That’s 1 in 13 children, or roughly two per classroom. About 30% of children with food allergies are allergic to more than one food.
- Food allergy is not intolerance. Food allergy triggers the body’s immune system. An estimated 150 deaths from anaphylaxis every year are attributed to food allergy.
- According to the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA), the eight most common allergenic foods (of the 160 known) are: milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, soybeans.
- You can’t always rely on labels. Consumer packaged food products containing two or more ingredients are required to list all top allergens on ingredient labels. However, if a product is manufactured near allergens or in the same factory, that information not required.
- Food allergies are not the only allergens impacting the health and safety of children and adults. For more information on food allergy and other allergens, visit the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease.
Elizabeth Grattan is a broadcast talent and writer who has covered current events, human interest and social justice for over twenty-five years. Her loves are laughter through tears, old ball caps, reasonably priced blended reds and her dream come true little man.