Halloween is less than a week away, and if you’re like me, you’re about to buy Halloween candy for the third time. . . The first time I buy it is when the stores first put it out (Oooh! It’s on sale, I’d better stock up for the trick or treaters!). The second time is bought shamefully and tied up in a bag (which gets untied on the first night I have it home. . .). And the third time is bought for the trick or treaters. For real this time.
While you’re out getting Halloween candy (That is really for the kids this time!! Stay strong!), I’d suggest looking past the candy aisle for some non-food treats. Join me in the Teal Pumpkin Project movement to provide some non-food options for kids who have allergies or special diets!
Imagine being a child with severe food allergies, a feeding tube, or a special diet. You get dressed up and go trick or treating with your friends for fun because you don’t want to be left out, but all you end up with at the end of the night is a bucket full of items you can’t have. How amazing would it be for some houses to have items that you can play with?! More houses handing out non-food treats could go a long way toward inclusion of children with dietary restrictions.
Visit the Teal Pumpkin Project’s FAQ to learn more. I am placing a teal pumpkin in front of my house to signal that I will have non-food options for trick or treaters. I’ll have a bucket full of candy (if I don’t eat it all) and a bucket full of bouncy balls, stickers, and glow bracelets. The Food Allergy Research and Education group has printables that you can put on your door if you don’t have time to paint a pumpkin teal!
I fell in love with the idea of this project when I realized how many of my pediatric clients it could benefit. I’ve known several children with feeding tubes, children on gluten-free/casein-free diets, or with severe allergies. They all want to participate in the same activities as their peers. With just a little extra planning and thought, we can help make Halloween an inclusive holiday for all of the Elsas and Transformers that come to our door!
What non-food items will you hand out?