Halloween is meant to be safe and happy for everyone - growing up with peanut allergies myself, I know that's not always the case for some children.

I can't even begin to explain how frustrating it is walking up to a house on Halloween night only to be presented a bowl filled with only Reese's peanut butter cups, Snickers, Baby Ruths, Paydays, etc. Being the one child in a group who either has to awkwardly say, "Oh I can't have any of these candies," or take a piece of peanut candy anyway with a tear in your eye because you know you can't even eat it really sucks. Believe me, I've been there - and there really are homes that give out nothing but allergy-ridden candy and that's the worst thing in the world for the 1 in 13 children that have food allergies (peanuts, other nuts, wheat, etc.).

In an effort to make Halloween a happier and safer holiday, free of scary scenarios like life-threatening anaphylaxis, the Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) organization launched the Teal Pumpkin Project to assure trick-or-treaters and parents which homes offer allergy-free options. Households in all 50 states and 14 countries worldwide participated in the project last year, and hopefully more Northern Coloradans will join in in years to come.

According to foodallergy.org, participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project is as simple as this:

  • Provide non-food threats for trick-or-treaters like bubbles, pencils, crayons, glow sticks, spider rings, stickers, vampire fangs, whistles, kazoos, playing cards, etc.
  • Place a teal pumpkin on your porch (you can either paint a pumpkin teal or pick up an already-teal craft pumpkin from a craft store like Michaels)
  • Display FARE's free printable sign or premium poster on your front porch to explain what the teal pumpkin means
  • Make a donation to the Teal Pumpkin Project for education purposes

At the very least, consider providing other candies like regular milk chocolate Hershey bars, hard candies, etc. in addition to your Reese's peanut butter cups and the like.