Why It’s Important To Understand What It Means If You See A Neighbor With A Teal Pumpkin

Updated September 21, 2017

Trick or treating can be difficult when kids have any food allergies, so it’s helpful to know who in the neighborhood has non-food treats to hand out.

Those people who put out a teal pumpkin on their porch are indicating that they’ve got treats for kids who can’t have the traditional goodies, so any parent of a child with a gluten or nut allergy can breathe a little easier.

The best part? Kids with dietary restrictions don’t have to miss out on the fun of Halloween night.

Of course, not everyone will participate with handing out non-standard trick or treat goodies, but some neighborhoods are embracing The Teal Pumpkin Project, sponsored by the Food Allergy Research & Education Foundation. The project is described as “Raising awareness of food allergies and promoting inclusion of all trick-or-treaters throughout the Halloween season.”

It’s easy enough for anyone to simply paint a pumpkin bright teal and set it out, then offer some non-food items, such as toys, stickers, pencils, and glow sticks. Kids still experience all the fun of going door to door to collect things and parents can be free of any worry.

Those participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project don’t have to simply have non-food items, they can still continue to hand out the typical candy treats to other kids stopping by.

According to the Food Allergy Research & Education Foundation, almost 18,000 households from all 50 states participated last year. They’re looking to increase that number, and have all the details for how to join the project:

  • Provide non-food treats for trick-or-treaters
  • Place a teal pumpkin in front of your home to indicate to passersby that you have non-food treats available
  • Display a free printable sign or premium poster from FARE to explain the meaning of your teal pumpkin
  • Make a donation to support the Teal Pumpkin Project and receive a free gift

They also provide a number of signs, flyers, and stickers that can be used to promote the program in your neighborhood. Check out their list of low-cost items you might want to hand out to trick-or-treaters, including bracelets, necklaces, spider rings, bouncy balls, bookmarks, stickers, erasers, and more.

Among those commenting on the Today show’s Facebook page about the Teal Pumpkin Project was one woman who is more than happy to participate: “My teal pumpkin is painted and ready. I don’t have children with allergies but I do feel for children who do have them and it’s a kid’s holiday so, I give no candy out, just little toys like bubbles, play doh, light sticks. I give every child the same thing so no one feels bad….I had one mom thank me last year as one of her kids could have candy and the other couldn’t. All kids should be able to enjoy this holiday!”

Another commenter made an excellent point that it’s not just about food allergies: “Everybody is talking about the kids with allergies but my child is diabetic. I love this idea to have another option other than candy. Why should they have to stay home, Halloween is for the kids.”