A similar version of this post was originally published in October 2012. It has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
Kids love candy. However, for many kids candy is simply not an option. Between childhood obesity, juvenile diabetes, food allergies, and other special needs, the population of children excluded from Halloween traditions grows each year.
Year after year I dressed my daughter into her Halloween costume, and then sat at home handing treats out to all of the other children in our area. It always made me sad that my daughter was missing out on a tradition that I LOVED when I was a child.
We had been taking Casey to a few friends’ houses over the years. They know all about her and would have stickers or toys set aside just for her. I could have taken her to other houses, and they would have given her candy, but she cannot eat anything by mouth. She is 100% gtube fed. The thought of dragging her house to house to only then take away her treasure just didn’t seem fair to me. Not only that, but then her dad and I would have been the ones to eat it (it would have been yummy, but not the best idea).
There are MANY kids in similar situations that were also missing out on Trick-or-Treating. Thankfully, there’s The Teal Pumpkin Project™. Created by FARE, Food Allergy Research & Education, the Teal Pumpkin Project™ raises awareness of food allergies and promotes inclusion of all trick-or-treaters throughout the Halloween season. Participants display a teal-colored pumpkin in front of their home and pledge to provide non-food treats. By just adding a non-food treat to your Halloween goodies, you are welcoming ALL children to participate in Halloween traditions. You can still have candy too; just add some stickers, pencils, etc.
In order to make it easy for families to know which houses provide non-food treats, The Teal Pumpkin Project has a few tools on their site:
- Free downloadable posters, flyers, and yard signs that you can print out and hang visible to trick-or-treaters.
- A smaller decal that can be downloaded and worn by kids that cannot eat candy to let families know they prefer the non-food treats if available.
- A list of non-food treat ideas.
- Non-food Trick-or-Treat Goodie Bags available for purchase.
- Ability to register your address as a Teal Pumpkin Project™ participating home. Then before heading out, trick-or-treaters can look at the map and see all Teal Pumpkin homes nearby.
That’s it! These very simple tweaks to your Halloween routine can make a huge difference for so many amazing kids.