Happy (almost) Halloween!
I love everything about this holiday - fun crafts, pumpkin carving, costumes, and of course, trick-or-treating. Halloween truly celebrates the magic of childhood.
That being said, Halloween can be a little tricky at our house. Our daughter, Scarlett, has severe food allergies. At eight months old, she had a reaction to yogurt. Her face turned bright red and continued down her neck. After a quick dose of Benadryl, a terrifying trip to the ER, and allergy testing by our pediatrician, we learned Scarlett was allergic to peanuts, tree-nuts and had a slight milk allergy.
Needless to say, I spent the next two years watching this little lady like a hawk, always fearful of what she might find and pop in her mouth, or what someone, unknowingly, might give her to eat.
I’m sure the anxiety I feel is similar for all parents of children with severe food allergies, especially on Halloween night. Candy bowls are filled with all sorts of goodies that either contain nuts or were likely processed in a facility with nuts, making them off-limits to children like Scarlett.
That’s why I was so excited to learn about the Teal Pumpkin Project. Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) hosts the project in an effort to encourage people to raise awareness of food allergies, while providing non-food treats so that all children can partake in the joy of trick-or-treating safely. By painting a pumpkin teal, the color of food allergy awareness, and placing it outside your home, parents can take a deep breath and know your house is offering something their child can take with them on halloween night, dump out on their family room floor and excitedly thumb through the treasure they acquired on their hunt.
Before participating in this initiative, I would have had my head buried in each bowl Scarlett would walk up to, desperately searching for a safe treat for her to take home. Not anymore. Now my entire family can enjoy trick-or-treating by making our route along the map of “teal” houses.
This is our second year participating, and I couldn’t wait to get the girls painting their pumpkins to put in front of our house! Not only is it for a great cause, but it’s a great crafting project. So much fun, why paint just one?! And, invite a friend to join in on the fun.
Go teal this Halloween - even if you don’t have a child with a food allergy. For ideas on non-food treats to hand out, visit Teal Pumpkin Project.
Every child deserves to be a part of the fun. And, honestly, how much candy do they really need, right?!