Trick-or-treating is an age-old tradition, but for parents whose kids can’t just eat whatever they get their hands on, it can be a completely stressful endeavor for Mom and Dad—and it may be confusing and not much fun for the kids.
What am I talking about? Food allergies, celiac disease, diabetes, food intolerances and other special diets. If your child is affected by any of these, you know the struggle of feeding your child things that you didn’t buy or make yourself. If you kid gets exposed to something she shouldn’t be eating, the risks can vary, but they can be pretty devastating—it can affect behavior, cause discomfort, result in serious illness and sometimes even cause death.
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While there is no way that anyone can possibly accommodate every person everywhere when handing out treats, there is a way to accommodate everyone with an awesome teal pumpkin.
No, I don’t mean hand out teal pumpkins. I mean paint a pumpkin teal and let it hang out on your porch. If you do so, the trick-or-treaters know that they can come by your house and their kids can be handed something that won’t make them sick and won’t potentially kill them.
So consider painting a pumpkin teal this Halloween and stocking up on non-food items to hand out.
You see, teal pumpkins mean that you know that not all kids can have all foods and that you can provide a fun non-food treat to the little ghosts and goblins that visit your home on October 31st. The Teal Pumpkin Project is working on getting the word out to everyone that having non-food treats at your home makes it a safe place to trick-or-treat. It’s a pretty simple thing to do and can mean so much to your friends and neighbors.
I have four kids, and only the oldest one—the one who is no longer living at home, of course—can eat freely. The other three have a variety of food allergies, and one child has celiac disease. So we can’t just let them take their candy to their rooms to gorge away on All Hallow’s Eve. Instead, we have to carefully comb through their selections to make sure they don’t have anything that could harm them, which they’ve always— thankfully— understood, but it’s still disheartening to see their candy pile sadly shrink away.
We’ve never seen a teal pumpkin on a doorstep or porch, but those folks who do provide non-food treats are definitely appreciated. Kids adore small gifts like glow sticks, bookmarks, crayons or small notebooks, and they won’t feel ripped off if they get a bunch of awesome stuff like that. Plus, it can really help ease the minds of their parents.
So consider painting a pumpkin teal this Halloween and stocking up on non-food items to hand out. You don’t have to completely avoid food treats—just have some of both (in separate bowls or buckets) to allow kids to choose. And you will be a real hero on that spooky night. —Monica Beyer