Teal pumpkins are not a new Halloween trend. In fact, The Teal Pumpkin Project was founded by mom, Becky Basalone, in 2012 as an idea of spreading food allergy awareness, by painting a pumpkin teal and handing out non-food items to trick-or-treaters for more inclusivity. Why teal? Teal is the color of food allergy awareness according to the Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) organization.
The project originated in East Tennessee and is now widespread, supported beyond the United States into Canada. Food allergies are more prevalent than ever, in fact impacting 1 in 13 children. A food allergy occurs when the body’s immune system reacts to a substance in a food which the body identifies as harmful. The immune system typically protects healthy individuals from germs, but in people with food allergies, the immune system detects the food as harmful which creates a reaction. The body’s immune response can be mild (itchy eyes or runny nose) to severe and life threatening (anaphylaxis). Check out the chart below for some common allergic reactions.
Since we’re exploring food allergies, Nutrition for Longevity would like to make note that food intolerances and sensitivities are not the same as an allergy. An intolerance occurs when the body is unable to digest a certain component of a food, like lactose, a naturally occurring sugar found in cow’s milk. Symptoms of intolerances may be unpleasant and uncomfortable, but they are not life-threatening. Check out our N4L meal plans to see if they fit your allergy needs.
So, how do kids (and adults) participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project? Simply decorate your door, hang flyers or post on social media to spread awareness. As an ally, you can pass out some fun, non-food items to trick-or-treaters found at local party supply stores, dollar stores or online shops. Here’s a list of some of our favorites:
- Glow sticks, bracelets, or necklaces
- Halloween erasers or pencil toppers
- Pencils, pens, crayons or markers
- Bouncy balls
- Mini slinkies
- Spider or skull rings
- Vampire fangs
- Mini notepads
- Playing cards
For additional resources check out this link!