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Celebrating Halloween This Year with A Teal Pumpkin
We have trick or treat aged children at our house so we are never home to hand out treats on Halloween. So last year we didn’t participate in the FARE Teal Pumpkin Project. However, this year the board of our local food allergy group was manning a booth at a children’s fair on October 3rd and our theme was going to be the Teal Pumpkin Project so we decided to decorate teal pumpkins to put in the booth.
If you are not familiar with the Teal Pumpkin Project, it is a Halloween campaign by FARE to raise awareness about food allergies and promote inclusion for all trick or treaters. Putting a teal pumpkin on your doorstep during Halloween will let children and parents know that you have a non-food treat available for those who have food allergies and cannot have the candy.
The kids loved the idea of doing a teal pumpkin since we didn’t get to do one last year. We brainstormed design ideas. I wanted it to be something that represented our son with the multiple food allergies but also something that might educate others. Then I remembered a comment to a newspaper article on introducing peanuts to infants that featured our family. The comment hinted to the fact that as parents of food allergic children, we don’t allow our children to play football, climb trees or play in the dirt—in essence, sheltering our children. Which couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, I remember that at the time I was reading that very same comment, my son was down the street playing football with his friends and my daughter was in the front yard climbing a tree. My son with life threatening allergies is a healthy, very active child. He plays soccer, practices kung fu, surfs, plays backyard football, skateboards, rock climbs and has placed the two times he has run a 5k. I am not a helicopter mom preventing him from doing typical ten year old things. His food allergies are not the result of over protection.
Soccer Image Courtesy of Susie Heil/Surfing Image Courtesy of Seth Broudy Surf School
So we finally settled on transforming the pumpkin into a teal soccer ball. My son’s passion is playing soccer. He loves it. So this year, we’ll set our pumpkin out on the step while we’re home. And if someone asks I can tell them about food allergies and hopefully they’ll walk away with the understanding of how food allergies don’t limit the lives of children who have them.