For many families Halloween is a fun time of year, to trick or treat and meet with friends. Yet, for children who manage complex medical conditions, Halloween can be a challenging time, when they are unsafe or excluded. This is the reality for children with life-threatening food allergies, childhood diabetes, food intolerances, as well as other medical conditions requiring a special diet. The Teal Pumpkin Project is a nationwide movement helping children stay safe and included on Halloween. This movement was created by Food Allergy Research and Education, a nonprofit that advocates for people with food allergies. However, it has expanded to include all children with medical conditions, for whom candy is not an option.
The Charlestown Mother’s Association and The Lions Club are teaming up to promote The Teal Pumpkin Project in our neighborhood. Teal pumpkins can be found at CVS or Michael’s. Participation is simple. First, put out a teal colored pumpkin on your doorstep or hang a teal pumpkin flyer in your window to show trick or treaters that you have non-food treats. Second, offer non-food trinkets in a separate container in addition to the usual fare. A simple way to offer them is to say, “You can choose a candy or a toy!” That’s it! Also, if you are a trick or treater, you can ask, “Do you have teal treats?” This will help during the hectic time. If you would like to print out a flyer, they are free through FARE’s website https://www.foodallergy.org/sites/default/files/2017-08/TPP-Flyer-Download.pdf.
Some examples of non-food treats are: pencils, crayons, markers, bubbles, Halloween erasers, mini slinkies, kazoos, balls, puppets, spider rings, vampire fangs, stickers, and tattoos. *Try to avoid playdough because it may contain wheat. These can be found at Target, Dollar Tree and online at Rhode Island Novelty, Oriental Trading and Amazon.
Additionally, CMA will sponsor The Switch Witch Table on The Training Field where children can trade candy for toys! Any child with a special dietary need should let the person running the table know or contact [email protected] to fast track through the busy line. Other children are welcome to participate also and can switch one candy for a toy.
With the Teal Pumpkin Project and The Switch Witch Table we are hoping to make Charlestown the most inclusive and healthiest Halloween in the city! We will be creating a map of houses participating in Teal Pumpkin to help guide trick or treaters. If you would like your home to be included, please email [email protected] by Oct. 26.