In addition to potting some mums that were on sale at Home Depot and hanging the last of my fall decor, it was time for us to put out our Teal Pumpkin. This is a tradition my family and I began last year (you can read about it here), with some inspiration from the awesome people at FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education).
For those that regularly follow, Home Everyday, you know all about my kids food allergies. But did you know (according to FARE).
- About 15 million people in the United States have food allergies.
- About 1 in 13 kids in the United States as a moderate to severe food allergy. (that’s about 2 per classroom)
- Every 3 minutes a person is sent to the Emergency Room due to an allergic reaction.
- A reaction can be mild or extremely severe and even fatal. This life threatening reaction is known as anaphylaxis.
- Many allergies are not outgrown over time, peanuts, tree nuts, finned fish, and shellfish allergies often tend to be life long allergies causing severe reactions.
- A food allergy can develop at any time.
- According to the CDC, between the years of 1997 and 2011 food allergies in children increased by 50%
While my kids have food allergies, they are just like any other kids. They go to school, play sports, go to events, and restaurants. All of these activities just require a little extra care and planning. For the most part, the people we associate with are extremely helpful and accommodating. Also, while my kids have been educated from very early on to read packages to look for possible allergens, ask a trusted adult what is in a dish before eating it, come find me at a party, or when in doubt refrain from eating a treat, they are also still children who are learning how to deal with their allergies.
This is why Halloween, for a Mom of allergy kids, is extremely stressful. While my kids are planning out the final details of their costumes, I am wondering how to navigate a through a day that is so centered on candy. Who will we donate our candy to after Halloween? Can I call every candy manufacturer between now and Halloween and find out what candies ARE safe? Should we go trick or treating or a just have a Halloween party instead?
When I found out about the #TealPumpkinProject through FARE, I was so excited to participate. This campaign was designed not only to bring awareness to food allergies, but also allow children who have food allergies to participate a little more fully in the Halloween traditions that we are so used to.
When you knock on the door or ring the doorbell of a house with a Teal Pumpkin (teal is the color of FARE) this tells the trick or treater that this house is offering glow sticks, stickers, pencils, bubbles, or some other Halloween trinket other than food. For the kids with food allergies, this is so exciting! My kids have always trick or treated in the past, and we would often donate our candy or share with family and friends after the holiday was over. Now, the kids have a small memento or trinket they can play with from their night of trick or treating with friends.
This year, I have a jar of candy for those that can have candy, and a jar filled with Halloween stickers and glow sticks.
And of course, I have my Teal Pumpkin in front of my door, again, this year. For not only my kids, but for all kids to have a happier healthier Halloween.
For more information about the #TealPumpkinProject, visit the FARE website. You can find ideas for non food treats, free printables, and all kinds of awesome information!