The costumes, the laughter, and the fun of being out and about after dark—kids look forward to trick-or-treating all year. And while Halloween is normally a carefree experience for little ones, some children are affected by food allergies that make the candies in their trick-or-treat goodie bags dangerous. Luckily, there is a relatively new initiative in place to make trick-or-treating safe for all kids—and you can help! This year, consider offering Halloween treats that aren't food. Rather than offering sugary sweets, hand out glow sticks, pencils, stickers, or other small toys, which are usually available at a lot of the same places you buy your Halloween candy.
No child wants to have to say "no" to a sugary treat once they're already at the doorstep, but how do you let trick-or-treaters know that you're handing out non-food prizes? The Teal Pumpkin Project makes it easy for everyone.
What Is the Teal Pumpkin Project?
Back in 2012, Tennessee mom Becky Basalone was looking for ways her son could participate in Halloween activities without triggering his severe food allergies. She wanted to create a visual cue that would let other families know which houses were allergy-friendly, so she placed a bright teal pumpkin on her front porch to signal that she had non-food treats. On Halloween night, she handed out spider rings, googly eyes, and glow sticks while explaining her initiative to everyone that rang the doorbell. Over the next two years, the idea of the teal pumpkin had become so popular that the Food Allergy Research and Education organization officially launched the nation-wide Teal Pumpkin Project in 2014.
How You Can Participate
Let little zombies, princesses, and superheroes know your home is allergy-friendly by placing a bright teal pumpkin on your doorstep. You can either buy one (like this 13-inch plastic teal pumpkin, $12, Target) or cover a live pumpkin with teal paint. Just be sure to display it where it's prominent, unobstructed, and clearly visible from the sidewalk! We've also created a free printable sign and a door hanger you can display along with your pumpkin.
Once you've displayed your pumpkin and hung the signs, stock up on fun non-food treats. You might think handing out individual toys would be more expensive than your typical jumbo bag of candy, but that's not the case—major retailers like Target are making it easy (and so affordable) to fill your trick-or-treat bowl with festive prizes. We've rounded up our favorite affordable Halloween party favors to help you get started. The best part? Our picks start at just $3!