Friday, October 30, 2015


Well it's here.



I have my teal pumpkin and a bowl of non-candy spider rings ready for trick-or-treating. I also have a bowl of candy for any kids who want a food treat rather than a non-food treat.

Tonight the kids went to their grandmother's senior living facility for trick-or-treating. Halfway through Olivia walked past me and said "well, there are about two things I can eat in my bucket." And then she sighed, shrugged, and walked away to gather more candy she can't eat.

And that my friends is what Halloween usually looks like for kids with food allergies. Great costumes and a bucket full of crap they can't eat.

Example A: Our safe and unsafe bowls -

As you can see "unsafe" beats out "safe" each year. (And while those Utz pretzels ARE peanut and tree nut free, they're processed in a facility with sesame seeds so they're off limits for Olivia).

I'll be repeating this whole safe and unsafe sorting again tomorrow night. And then I'll be sending most of the candy with my husband when he leaves for work on Monday so I'm not tempted to eat any of the chocolate. ;)

Olivia knows that Halloween is a tough holiday for her and while she loves dressing up I think she's about over the whole trick-or-treat aspect. What's the point when all you end up with is a bowl full of Skittles? I mean they're great and all but a girl can only eat so many Skittles.

I encourage you to get a teal pumpkin and support kids with food allergies this Halloween. Find some non-food treats (stickers, spider rings, bouncy balls) and give those kids a choice when they come to your house.

Believe me the kids with food allergies (and their parents) WILL appreciate it.

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Seeing the Teal Pumpkin Project in Action

Today we took the kids to the Toledo Zoo for the annual Pumpkin Path.

It's the zoo's trick-or-treating event where kids and adults can dress in costume and the kids go to stations to get candy. In years past it's been sort of a bust for Olivia since more than half the candy she would receive was unsafe.

This year she was so excited to see that the zoo was participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project - there would be a teal pumpkin at any booth that was handing out "unsafe" (not allergy friendly) treats.

Here's how it went....

First booth with a teal pumpkin was great - Olivia asked for a "teal pumpkin treat" and they immediately gave it to her. Score one for the zoo.

Next booth with a teal pumpkin was handing out Cracker Jack. You know, caramel popcorn with peanuts. Olivia says "I'd like a teal pumpkin treat" and the volunteer says "OK" and proceeds to put TWO bags of Cracker Jack in Olivia's bucket. I grabbed the bags, looked at the woman and said "She has a peanut allergy and CAN'T EAT THESE." Her response: Oh.

We had to find the RIGHT PERSON to get the safe treat - which they had HIDING BEHIND THE BOOTH for some unknown reason.

Third booth - handing out Milky Way which aren't safe for peanut/tree nut allergies. Olivia again says "I'd like a teal pumpkin treat" and the volunteer PUTS TWO CANDY BARS in her bucket. Again, NO.

After that it did get better.
But seriously. 

I commend the zoo for participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project but the groups that were passing out candy needed a bit more education on the point of the project.

Olivia did come away with a fun stash of stuff:

But at the same time she seemed a bit sad about the whole experience. I suppose Halloween just isn't as fun when you're a kid with food allergies. I asked her what was wrong and she said "I just wish they were all teal pumpkins." I think she still felt left out - even though she was getting fun "stuff" it wasn't the same as what the other kids were getting. Special stuff sure, but still different because of the food allergies.


Halloween can't be over soon enough.

Are you participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project this year? You can learn more about it here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Teal Pumpkis and Halloween

No I didn't go anywhere.
Yes, life got in the way of blogging.

But I'm back! Just in time for Halloween party planning!

I'm not gonna lie - Halloween is not exactly my favorite holiday anymore. At least not when it comes to food and candy.

Honestly it can be rather stressful trying to navigate all the candy and treats and unsafe things when it comes to food allergies.

This year I'm actually HAPPY that Olivia doesn't have a classroom Halloween party - it's one less thing for me to worry about. And it's one less party where she might not be able to eat the same things as her friends.

Of course we still have another party and several chances for trick-or-treating to get through, but we'll make it. Olivia knows the drill: you can take the candy but you can't actually EAT or TOUCH anything until you come home and I sort through it all. I separate the candy into "safe" and "unsafe."

I'll let you guess which bowl ends up with more candy. ;)

This year, for the second year in a row, we'll be putting a teal pumpkin on our doorstep. Why is that, you ask?

Well let me explain.

The Teal Pumpkin Project was launched as a national campaign last year by Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) as a way to raise awareness of food allergies and promote inclusion of all trick-or-treaters throughout the Halloween season.

And if you decide to participate in the program you can put a teal pumpkin on your doorstep and then purchase some non-food items (stickers, glow necklaces, bouncy balls are a few ideas) and give those to the kids who come to your house.

Of course you can also pass out candy - but just keep the candy separate from the non-food items in order to avoid any cross contact. :)

If you're interested in participating in the teal pumpkin project you can take the pledge and you can download a sign to hang at your front door. 

The Teal Pumpkin Project is one way to include kids with food allergies during a holiday season that can be fraught with peril and peanuts (and other allergens).

If you're a room parent or if you're on the school PTO, you could also incorporate a teal pumpkin into any school Halloween celebrations. Always remember to ask about kids with food allergies in the classroom and include the child, exclude the food.

And if you're looking for a list of snacks that are safe for kid with allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, and/or eggs check out the Safe Snack Guide. It's been updated for Halloween! 

Here's to a safe and Happy Halloween!

To learn more about the Teal Pumpkin Project visit the FARE website.