Forget orange and black. Halloween's hottest color is teal.
People around the world this month are set to participate in the Food Allergy Research and Education organization's Teal Pumpkin Project, an initiative aimed at helping all children celebrate Halloween. Trick-or-treating has become a pastime for kids of all ages, but roughly 1 out of every 13 children suffers from some sort of food allergy. The Teal Pumpkin Project wants to make the spooky holiday a lot safer for them.
Joining in is simple. First, you buy non-food treats to give out to costumed visitors the night of Oct. 31 — think whistles, pencils, bookmarks or stickers. Then you put a teal pumpkin outside so families know your home is safe for allergic young trick-or-treaters. Add a sign to explain the decoration, and you're good to go.
"Chances are, there’s at least one child in your neighborhood or right down the block that lives with a potentially life-threatening food allergy," Nancy Gregory, a spokeswoman for the Food Allergy Research and Education group, told the New York Post. "Kids love getting a little prize or toy that they don’t have to give away because it could be harmful, and parents appreciate knowing there are homes with safe options in their neighborhood."
Becky Basalone, a mom in Tennessee, started the project in 2012. When her sons were diagnosed with life-threatening allergies and intolerances to ingredients like cinnamon, cow's milk and tree nuts, she found herself limiting their trick-or-treating to only a few homes, Allergic Living reported. In order to make Halloween more allergy-friendly, she came up with the idea of painting pumpkins teal to indicate which houses were safe.
Since its inception, the movement has spread to 14 countries, according to the project's website. And, no, it doesn't mean you can't give out candy. Teal-pumpkin participants who also want to provide sweets can do so — just keep them in a separate bowl.
"It means a lot to our family," New York mom Nina Reams told WCBS. "Samantha can trick or treat with all the other kids and feel included."