It’s that time of year again. Families across the country are making their annual pilgrimage out to the local pumpkin patch (or Kroger) to pick up fall’s fruitiest porch decoration. But this year, trick-or-treaters might notice something a bit different on the neighborhood’s porches.
The Teal Pumpkin Project, founded in 2014 by Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), aims to create a “safer, happier” Halloween by promoting safety, respect, and inclusion of individuals managing food allergies. Project participants are prompted to paint a porch pumpkin teal as a signal to children with food allergies that their house offers non-food treats in place of candy. Parents have offered many creative alternatives such as toys, glowsticks, temporary tattoos, and stuffed animals alongside traditional candies for others.
The Teal Pumpkin Project will help six-month-old Sullivan Johnston who was diagnosed with Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome (FPIES), a gastrointestinal food allergy which prevents the patient from consuming certain foods, such as processed candies. His parents Sarah and Tim Johnston hope to have enough Teal Pumpkin Project participants in their British Columbia neighborhood so that little Sullivan can have a customized Halloween route by next year.