Do you know about the teal pumpkin movement?
It was launched as a USA-wide project in 2014 by FoodAllergy.org, following a local awareness activity run by the Food Allergy Community of East Tennessee (FACET). The idea is that if you are happy to welcome trick or treaters at Halloween (not everyone is!), and would like to make the experience better for children with allergies, you provide some non-food treats (or some safe allergy-free treats) and display a teal pumpkin so that visiting children and their parents know that you can offer something safe.
Trick or treating is becoming increasingly popular over here in the UK, following the tradition set by the USA, where Halloween is a big festival. I’m not a fan of trick or treating myself—and it hasn’t happened around here for years—but thought I’d share this idea with you.
Of course, it doesn’t take away the responsibility of the parents to choose safe foods for their child, and to teach the child to make safe choices. But it might just make the experience nicer for everyone. And it might mean that some children would be able to join in. Although part of the fun of the night is dressing up, and being out after dark with your friends, part of it is the treats—and if you know that you may not be able to join in with the feasting, that can take some of the fun out of the evening.
Although we’ve hardly ever done trick or treating (and only to known houses when we did) I do remember when Coeliac Daughter would come home from parties with sweet treats, and then pick out the few that she could eat and give the rest to her siblings. I also used to keep a stock of safe treats on a high shelf, and then swapped them for the unsafe ones in her bag. She quickly learned which were safe to eat, and which were not. The trickiest treats were those from abroad, where the ingredients list (if there’d been one) had obviously been on the outer packaging, and wasn’t available to check…
What do you think? Do you let your coeliac (or lactose-intolerant, or nut-allergy) child go trick or treating? And if so, do you think the idea of a teal pumpkin is a good one?
I’ve written a book summarising what we’ve learnt over 20 years of dealing with the gluten free diet, and it might be just what you’re looking for. It packs the lessons we’ve learned into what I hope is a helpful and straightforward guidebook. It’s available on Amazon, as a paperback or for your Kindle…