What's With The Teal Pumpkins?

The Teal Pumpkin Project: Making Halloween A Treat For Everyone

October 11, 2019



You've probably seen them in a craft store or maybe decorating a neighbor's front porch, but what exactly is a Teal Pumpkin and why are you seeing them more and more?

I didn't used to know either, until my son was diagnosed with a peanut and tree nut allergy. Now, I'm what you might call an obsessive-culpusive-high stress-on alert-expert parent on every single ingrediant ever in every single type of food and candy. And, I'm also a proud supporter of The Teal Pumpkin Project, the non-food solution inclusive for children who can't eat or enjoy the traditional October treats.

As you can imagine, having a child with food allergies means Halloween can be very very tricky.

Teal Pumpkins signal to my family (and maybe yours) that there are alternatives to food on the porch. Things like stickers, pencils, stamps. Tiny little slinkies, keyrings or temporary tattoos. Any and all sorts of non-candy goodies that are safe for children who can't consume nuts or eggs or soy or milk or other foods that cause allergic reactions in their immune system (or for children suffering with painful food intolerances).

That's important. Because food allergies are on the rise. According to F.A.R.E., an estimated 5.9 million children under the age of 18 live with food allergies. 30% of those children have allergies to more than one food. That's 1 in every 13 children or about 2 per classroom. (These stats do not include the multitudes of children living with severe food intolerances or other gastrointenstinal problems).

That's a lot of children knocking on your door who may or may not be able to put something in their bag.


Before I was a parent with a child with food allergy, I didn't really ever think of these things. It just honestly never occurred to me how families might juggle something so simple as Trick or Treat.

But now? Well, I remember every time my child would turn down the offerings on Halloween. Each time that he smiled and said "No, Thank You" poliltely. Most families are so kind to us, searching their kitchen cupboards or hand bags for something he could have...or watching him scan for safe candies and then giving him extras because they knew how the rest of the night went.  One year, when my son was five, a woman chased us down the street with a dollar bill in her hand. She told me from that moment on, she'd never forget to think of the little ones who weren't able to eat what she had. I was moved to tears and my son was full of joy. It was such a tiny little gesture to know from that moment on there would be a Teal Pumpkin on that porch.

It's my family's hope maybe you might consider that too. If you want more information or need to know where to find a Teal Pumpkin (or maybe want some ideas on how to make your own), you can visit The Teal Pumpkin Project. There's even a place there you can indicate that your house is serving up non-food treats in addition to any other candies you might be offering.

And please spread the word to your family and your friends. Maybe a whole street will be Teal Pumpkin this year? But even if it's just your home, that would be cool too. :)

Here are perspectives from others about The Teal Pumpkin Project...

And now you know what a Teal Pumpkin is for! On behalf of my little lad, this allergy mom thanks you!


Food allergy is not food intolerance. Food allergy triggers the body's immune system and can be life threatening. There is no such thing as a mild or severe food allergy. Reactions can be unpredictable. An estimated 150 deaths from anaphylaxis every year are attributed to food allergy.

According to the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA), the eight most common allergenic foods (of the 160 known) are: milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soybeans.

While checking ingrediant labels can be helpful, it cannot be relied upon in cases of cross-contact or cross-contamination. Consumer packaged food products containing two or more ingrediants are required to list all top allergens on ingrediant labels. However, if a product is manufactured near allergens or in the same factory or on shared lines, that information is not required.