If you’ve spotted porch pumpkins decked out in a different hue over the past couple of years, you’re not alone. As part of the Teal Pumpkin Project, families everywhere are choosing an option that allows all kids to enjoy trick-or-treating—even those with allergies. Read on to discover everything you need to know about the Teal Pumpkin Project.

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What’s the Deal with Teal?

Started by a mom and the Food Allergy Community of East Tennessee and launched nationally by Food Allergy Research Education (FARE) in 2014, the Teal Pumpkin Project aims to educate people on the danger of allergens, and help all kids get in on the fun come Halloween night. Each teal pumpkin you see on a stoop means that house is handing out non-food goodies.

“Halloween is a stressful time of year for the allergy community. We have been blown away by the positive response to the Teal Pumpkin Project. What started as a grassroots effort has been embraced and shared all over the nation. It is incredibly gratifying.” says Nancy Gregory, FARE’s Senior Director of Communications.

Another cool aspect? It’s not just the milk, nut, soy and egg kids that benefit from the Teal Pumpkin Project. “We’ve had both the celiac and the diabetes communities welcome our efforts and provide their own. Kids with food allergies aren’t the only ones who have problems with trick-or-treating.” says Nancy.

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How You Can Take Part

Put a teal pumpkin on your porch.
You can paint an orange pumpkin, buy a teal pumpkin (several major retailers are on board including: Target, JoAnn’s Fabrics and Michael’s!) or download a Teal Pumpkin Project sign to hang on your door for free. FARE has several different options, pick your favorite here.

Hand out non-candy items.
The idea behind the Teal Pumpkin Project is to promote inclusion and safety, and educate people on the life-threatening issues kids with allergies face. So instead of choosing “allergy-free” candy, which may still include several allergens, go completely candy free. Options include stickers, glow sticks, bubbles, whistles and more. See our picks for awesome non-food items here.

Separate your treats.
If you want to hand out candy but still want to participate, FARE suggests keeping the non-candy items in a separate bowl to avoid cross contamination.

Ask before you hand out treats.
If you want to hand out two types of treats, ask each visitor if they have food allergies. There’s even a sign that helps avoid confusion! Download it here

Add your home to the national FARE map.
Make it easy for pumpkin project participants to find your house on Halloween night! FARE has a handy interactive map feature on their website, find out how to add your home here.  

Ask the community to get involved.
Many local merchants and malls host fall festivals or daytime trick-or-treating events. Stop by and ask them to offer items for kids with allergies. If they want to know more, this informational flyer will tell them everything they need to know.

Share your pumpkin on social media.
Spread the news by posting pictures of your own pumpkin on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and more! Don’t forget the hashtag: #tealpumpkinproject.

Find out more: foodallergy.org/teal-pumpkin-project

Will you place a teal pumpkin on your porch this year? Share with us in a Comment below!

—Gabby Cullen

Images courtesy Food Allergy Research Education