As a mom of kids with food allergies, and who struggles with food sensitivities herself, Halloween is always a mixed bag.
Oh how I love the swarms of families and children marching to my door in vibrant colors! Usually the little ones in their animal and princess and superhero costumes come first, while the sun is still up. (I always love the pumpkins with chubby cheeks and the ladybugs with thigh rolls.) As the night wears on, the kids get taller, and the costumes get scarier. And then as the candy bowls begin to run dry, our neighbors congregate on the porch of whomever still has sweets to give, and we enjoy the cool evening until the crowds dwindle and the candy runs out, and then our kids go to bed utterly exhausted with delight.
But despite the joy of the evening, parents of kids with food allergies look on the holiday with caution and even alert, knowing that each little treat could have the potential to cause their child harm. Candy must be sorted, and labels must be read. Epi pens must be stocked, and encouraging pep talks must be given. (It’s hard to watch your friends or siblings eat the very thing you crave and are absolutely forbidden to try.)
That’s why I was so excited to hear about the Teal Pumpkin Project! Created by FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education), the Teal Pumpkin Project is a movement encouraging families to give out allergen-free treats on Halloween. By putting a teal pumpkin on your porch, you’re showing families with food allergies that you are a safe place, that you have a treat that can be enjoyed without fear or worry.
You could give away glow sticks or bubbles or our free Sparkle Stories Trick-or-Treat printable in black and white or color, which links to a collection of free audio stories. (Please note that the story collection will be available starting October 27th.) Or if budget constrains you, maybe you do go ahead and buy candy in bulk, but then you also have a smaller number of allergen-free treats set aside for those who approach because of your teal pumpkin. The teal pumpkin is quickly becoming a symbol for kids with food allergies that says, “We see you, we care for you, and we went out of our way to get you something special.”
So to usher in the teal pumpkin season, we’ve crafted a brand new, totally free story about two friends with dietary restrictions and how the Teal Pumpkin Project saved Halloween for them. Please play the story for your kids, and share it with your friends, schools, places of worship, and other communities to help spread the word. Even if you don’t deal with food allergies or food sensitivities in your home, you likely know someone who does. Our hope is that this story will soften the hearts of all our listeners and empower us to work together to ensure Halloween is a safe and fun-filled holiday for all.
About the Authors
A native Texan, Erin lives in Austin with her college-sweetheart husband and three kids. She loves to travel, and her time spent living abroad in Spain and Chile ignited her passion for cultural exchange and foreign language. She homeschools her children in collaboration with a sweet little classical, university-model school. She has a revolving front door (not literally, but you get the idea) and will always say yes to a day on the lake.
David Sewell McCann
David Sewell McCann fell in love with spinning stories in first grade – the day a storyteller came to his class and captured his mind and imagination. He has been engaged in storytelling all of his adult life through painting, film-making, teaching and performing. Out of his experience as a Waldorf elementary class teacher and parent, he has developed a four step method of intuitive storytelling, which he now shares through workshops and through this website.