Teal Pumpkins…what’s this all about?



This year my son is old enough to really get Halloween…and for that I’m scared. I’m not scared because I worry he will eat too much candy and get a stomachache or a cavity or two. No, my fear is much bigger. I worry he will be too curious and sneak a candy and for someone who is allergic to dairy, eggs, nuts and sesame, that candy can cause a possible death.

IMG_0070In order to help keep everyone safe, FARE created the Teal Pumpkin Project. This campaign was designed to promote an inclusive and safe holiday for all. In its inaugural year last year over 100,000 households in the US and 7 other countries participated to make it a safer day for the 1 in 13 children who suffer from food allergies.

Last year we took the pledge and encouraged our family and friends, and my students to do the same. My son wasn’t really sure why he was painting his pumpkin teal, but he  loved doing it. If you don’t want to paint a pumpkin, you can print out a flyer and color it for your door. Either way, if you do participate, and I hope this encourages you to, please try to put your “sign” out a week in advance. It helps us allergy families plan a safe route for our children. Some of our kind neighbors made sure to have safe “treats,” not one for my son, but for everyone who visited their homes.

To help out those who want to participate but aren’t sure what safe treats are, I have a short and easy list.

One of our awesome neighbors who handed out the hit of the night...mini toys!
One of our awesome neighbors who handed out the hit of the night…mini toys!

a) Glow sticks: This was a big hit with my 3 year old last year. Even the kids who could eat candy thought it was cool and enjoyed them. Added bonus, while walking the glow sticks help once it starts to get dark.
b) Mini toys from party stores: Again, after a few houses of candies, when we hit the house that gave out mini cars and bouncy balls, all the kids were excited to play with them.
c) Crayons and coloring books: You can easily pick these up from the dollar store or Target $1 bins. These can be Halloween oriented or not. What parent doesn’t appreciate a backup set of crayons and coloring books? I know we love to keep them in the car and in bags for emergencies.
d) Bubble kits, silly putty, or cool straws and cups: No matter how many cups or bubbles my son has, he can’t get enough of them.

For more ideas, visit the FARE website. (They even have a kit you can buy, if you are having a party or a lot of kids coming your way.)

This year I hope to see more teal pumpkins and signs in my town. It means a lot to have all children feel included. And for those of you who need the extra incentive, think of it this way…all that candy you don’t buy means you’re ahead of the holiday slippery slope weight gain!

Will you take the pledge with me?michael teal

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Maria is a full-time mom, teacher, wife, daughter, and sister, who feels pulled in too many directions! Her older son Michael took over 24 hours to be born, and at six-months-old was diagnosed with allergies to dairy, eggs, nuts, soy, shrimp, and wheat…all after exclusively nursing because she was SO SURE that would help him be a healthy kid. Luckily at age 1, he began to outgrow some of his allergies. Fingers crossed the others will soon follow because that plus a husband who doesn’t eat any veggies and Maria always battling her weight makes for three meals to prepare every night. Luckily, Christopher, her younger son, is a cooperative eater! As someone who has always been committed to making positive change, Maria uses her privilege and position as an educator and mom to work toward a most anti-racisit, equitibile, and inclusive world. Recently, Maria has even started getting up at 5am to workout in her basement. (Thank you pandemic living!) She is addicted to reading chicklit on her Kindle app in the dark, most Trader Joe’s products, and watching TikToks.


  1. Love this, Maria. We will be painting our pumpkin next week and will proudly be passing out non-food items for those who venture up our driveway. Thank you for this post and I hope Michael has a wonderful Halloween!

    • Thanks Julie! It’s so hard now with all the food in schools etc. if we can start by “normalizing” Halloween and changing the culture a little, who knows what we will be able to achieve. Hope Oliver and Miles have a great Halloween too.


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