An influx of teal coloured pumpkins have adorned doorsteps in recent years around the western world – but what exactly do they mean? These aqua hued festive phenomena are not just a by-product of your eccentric neighbours, but an indication that a home is participating in Halloween’s Teal Pumpkin Project.
Whether an elegant glow from a jack o’ lantern, a decorated cardboard cut out, or a good old fashioned painted pumpkin, these teal mysteries are part of a nation wide initiative by Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) that aims to raise allergy awareness, promote inclusivity for all children and create a fun and safe environment for those kids whose food allergies can make trick o’ treating a sugar-clad minefield.
The campaign was started by Becky Basalone in 2012, the director of a local food and allergy group in Tennessee, who had the idea of painting pumpkins teal, the colour of food allergy awareness, to indicate that families were giving out non-food treats for Halloween trick o’ treaters.
FARE then took on the project in 2014, after which the initiative has expanded beyond Becky’s southern community to across the nation and even across borders and oceans, with Canada and the UK now involved in the campaign. You can check out just how many people are participating in this fever map, an interactive map that shows households supporting the project – and this year is expected to be the biggest yet.
For families who suffer from life-threatening allergies, this project is life changing, since it eliminates the anxiety around Halloween sweets and their potential danger, replacing fear with safety and making the festive season safe and happy for all participants.
Keen to take part? My family sure will be! All you have to do is stock up on non-food treats and make sure to keep them separate from other sweets to avoid contamination. Next paint your pumpkin, stick it on your porch and tag your home in the fever map to let others know you’re taking part.
Check out FARE’s website for more info on getting involved – keep your kids from getting their treats tricked this Halloween, and keep your community safe!