Halloween PSA

It is that time again for my yearly PSA post about Halloween.  This is something that is so important to me, and I will continue to share it year after year.  My youngest daughter has a condition called Eosinophilic Esophagitis.  It is an allergic response to certain foods.  Her esophagus can become very inflamed just by eating her trigger foods, and it can cause irreversible damage.  When she was younger, this led to several dietary restrictions.  She couldn’t have dairy, eggs, corn, peas, or squash.  If you have ever read labels, you know that just about everything contains either dairy or corn.  This made her food options extremely limited, and Halloween became a source of much stress and disappointment.  I will never forget this one Halloween a few years ago when she went out trick or treating and got a bucket full of candy. That evening she sat on the floor, dumped out her whole bucket, and then began sorting through what she could eat and what she couldn’t.  As she sat there with tears running down her face realizing that the safe pile was getting smaller and smaller, my heart broke into a million pieces.  The pile of things that she could eat had less than 10 pieces of candy.  She just kept saying how unfair it was.  I felt utterly helpless because in that moment there was absolutely nothing I could do to make it better for her.   I snapped a picture to remind me of that moment and vowed to try to make a difference not just for her, but also for other kids with allergies as well. 

Teal Pumpkin

I don’t really know what Halloween is going to look like this year.  I know some people aren’t going to participate, but I know that others are determined to give kids something to look forward to in these crazy times.  I have seen people create candy tubes that you can shoot candy through from your front porch to the sidewalk to maintain distance.  I have also seen people taping sticks to the back of candy to stick in their yards for kids to easily grab as they pass.  It doesn’t really matter how you hand out treats this year.  What matters is that you have alternatives to candy for those children like mine who can’t eat the candy.  The Teal Pumpkin Project was started several years ago by another allergy mom, and it is such a brilliant movement that allows children with dietary restrictions or allergies to still be able to participate safely in Halloween.  All you have to do is to place a teal pumpkin on your porch.  You can paint your own or most stores now sell pumpkins that are already teal just for this purpose. The teal pumpkin is a symbol to those with allergies or dietary restrictions that it is safe to come to your house.   You simply get a few non-edible treats to pass out to those kids that need them.  DON’T mix them in with your candy because some people have contact allergies.  Just have a separate bowl of non-edible treats and allergy friendly candy. When kids come to my house to trick or treat, I simply ask them up front if they have any allergies.  If so, I offer them the bucket of safe treats.  You may only get one or two kids that need the safe treats, but I can’t tell you what a difference that small act will make for those children.  The good thing about it is that even if you have non-edible treats leftover, you can just pack them up and have them for the next year as well.  While my daughter is able to eat most candy now, I will ALWAYS have a Teal Pumpkin on my porch.  It saddens me every year when my teal pumpkin is the only one in our neighborhood, and my prayer is that one day every single house will have one. That is why I will continue to share about it over and over again.

Here are some inexpensive suggestions for safe treats you can purchase. 

Bouncy Balls/Spider Rings/Erasers/Rubber Ducks/Stickers/Bubbles/Silly Glasses/Crazy Straws/Mini Notepads/Mustache Lip Whistles/Vampire Teeth/Glow Sticks/Dum Dums/Finger Puppets/Stamps/Pencils/Slap Bracelets/Slinkies/Slime/Variety Pack

I urge you to consider participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project this year and every year to come.  It can truly make some child’s day, and keep some mom from worrying to death about her child’s safety.


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Allergic to the Sun???

To add to all of my weird aliments and crazy, strange allergies to the most random things, I now believe that I am allergic to the sun or maybe heat.  It’s hard to say.  It started about a month or so ago with a random rash on my hands.  One hand was worse than the other and it seemed to come and go.  It wasn’t like hives, though.  It was large red spots that seemed to spread out over my hands, fingers, and wrists (see pictures above). I had not been in the sun with this one, but I did notice it was worse after showering. Maybe I am now allergic to water too! Who knows?  I showed it to my doctor at my last appointment, and she thought it looked like an autoimmune rash and tested me for a ton of things that of course all came back negative.  This is actually the second time I have been tested for an autoimmune disorder in the last year because of a weird rash.  The first time (see above), I had these dark red marks all around my ankles.  My doctor said it looked vascular, which is why she thought autoimmune then too.  Anyway, when I went to the beach with my friends a little over a week ago, I got another weird rash. Within 5 minutes of being on the beach it appeared all over the lower part of my legs.  It looked partly like hives and partly not.  It is hard to describe, but it isn’t like the normal hives I get when I have allergic reactions to medicines.  There were larger red spots and then tiny dark red spots that almost looked like razor burn but not exactly.  I had not shaved that morning before going either.  Anyway, it was weird.  It started out on the lower half of my legs and then slowly moved up my leg until it was covering the whole leg on both legs by the second day we were there.  My friend likes to say that the rash was caused by COVID and that I was the original source of the virus that spread to the rest of the world.  She’s so funny, isn’t she?!?!? <insert eye roll> The rash stayed there for several days after I got back home before fading away.  I can only assume that it was either from the sun or the heat because I was not using a new sunscreen or any new lotions. Some of my friends thought that it might be a sun sensitivity caused by some of my medications, but I don’t think that it is either.  I have been on the same medications for years with no issues, and I’m pretty sure that isn’t a side effect of anything that I take anyway.  All I know what that I was walking around looking like I had some contagious disease.  I’m glad that we couldn’t go anywhere in public for anyone else to see.  

I actually had a virtual visit with my doctor this morning and showed her the pictures of my legs from the beach.  She is just as baffled as I am and has referred me back to my dermatologist to take have her take look.  I’m thinking that I may need to see an allergist as well. I have never had any type of allergy testing done, surprisingly.  Most of the things that I know I am allergic to are medicines, and those give me very obvious hives.   I did develop an allergy to adhesives a few years ago and cannot use Band-Aids or paper tape for any length of time without breaking out with a localized rash that makes me want to claw my skin off.  You don’t know how unfortunate that is until you have to have things cut out of your skin all the time and have to have bandages to keep those spots protected until they heal.  I won’t even get into all that today because it’s a lot.  Then, we all know the fiasco from a little over a year ago when I suddenly became allergic to some brands of hair dye and my head was on fire for days.  I guess my skin and body are just super sensitive to things. I have no idea! I wish I knew the causes and how to prevent these crazy reactions. Why must I have the most random things? It really is quite comical to sit around wondering what strange thing is going to happen to me next! Every doctor I have ever had says that I am a unique case and that they like trying to figure me out.  I guess I will just continue to be their test subject. Maybe I should donate my body to science when I am gone.  Haha!


Teal Pumpkin Project

I finally feel like I am back among the living.  I am certainly not back to 100%, but I am much better.  I am run down and tired still, but I can at least function now. If I could just get rid of this horrible cough, my life would be much more manageable.   It basically prevents me from talking or carrying on any conversation whatsoever. Whatever it is that I had has really kicked my butt.  I have been pretty useless for over a week.  I am super sad that I had to postpone lunch with one of my besties from college who I haven’t seen in years.  How sad is it that since I moved a little over a year ago, we have lived in the same county and have not seen each other once? Life gets in the way too much.  I know that I really need to work to make time for the people that I care about, but it sure it hard.  Anyway, being sick for over a week has really been miserable.  

Now on to the topic of the day! Today I am making my yearly PSA about Halloween.  It is just a week away and many of you are buying candy to pass out to all of the trick or treaters in your neighborhood.  I am urging you to consider also purchasing a few non-edible treats.  As the mom of a child who has had her diet severely restricted due to how her body reacts to certain foods, this is a topic that I am passionate about.  I always tell people about this whenever I can this time of year.  Unless you are living under a rock, you have seen story after story about the rise in food allergies among children.   I can’t tell you why more and more children are suffering from food allergies, but I know that it is happening at alarming rates.  I am here to tell you that it is serious.  It isn’t something to make light of, and it isn’t a bunch of moms overreacting.  Food allergies can literally be the cause of a child’s death. They are real, and they are scary.  Halloween is one of the scariest holidays for children with food allergies.  Some of you may say that a child should just stay home if their allergies are that bad. If you say that, then you can’t possibly have a heart.  Kids should not be punished for something they have no control over.  I firmly believe that it is our responsibility as adults to ensure the safety of ALL kids.  We have to do better at that job. 

Several years ago, the allergy community created the Teal Pumpkin Project.  Families that were willing to offer non-edible or allergy friendly treats were asked to place a teal pumpkin on their porch to let children with allergies know that it was safe to go to that house.  This allowed those children the chance to experience the joy of Halloween.  Thankfully this movement caught on and has now spread around the country. Hundreds of families now participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project, but it isn’t enough.  We have to continue to spread the word and urge others to also participate.  There are still so many communities that have never heard of the Teal Pumpkin Project. I have actually never seen a teal pumpkin at any other house besides my own. All you have to do is to purchase a few non-edible treats or trinkets that you keep in a separate bowl from your candy.  Then place a teal pumpkin on your porch to serve as a message to those with allergies that it is safe to visit your house.  You can paint your own teal pumpkin or you can purchase them now already painted at many retailers.  I am certainly not telling you that you can’t pass out candy.  I am simply asking that you also provide a safer alternative to candy. Give those kids who can’t eat the candy the chance to experience something that all kids look forward to each year. 

I always share the story of my daughter from a couple of years ago on Halloween.  She went out and got a bucket full of candy (she can come into contact with her allergen but just can’t ingest it).  She came home and dumped out the bucket and began sorting through what she could eat and what she couldn’t.  The pile of things that she could not have was huge and the pile she could have consisted of less than 10 pieces of candy.  I watched as she sat there with tears rolling down her face thinking how unfair it was, and my heart broke.  Not one of the houses that we went to had allergy friendly treats.  In fact, we were the only house in the entire community we lived in that had a Teal Pumpkin out.  There are hundreds of children just like my daughter that want so badly to fit in and do the things their peers do.  Many of them are even worse than my daughter and cannot even come into contact with their allergen.  I am begging you for the sake of all of those children to please take part in the Teal Pumpkin Project.  Ask the kids when they come to your door in their cute or scary costumes if they have any allergies, and please offer them an alternative.  I can promise you, it will make their night and it will give all of us worried moms a huge sigh of relief.  You could literally save a child’s life and make their day a little brighter.  

Getting allergy friendly treats is as simple as buying one less bag of candy and instead buying a few inexpensive trinkets.  Often these things are less expensive than candy.  Below is a list of ideas of allergy friendly treats with links to purchase them in bulk. You can also purchase assortment packs from Amazon like this or this. The good news is that these don’t go bad so you can save whatever is left year after year. 


*This post contains commissioned links. Should you choose to purchase items through these links, I may earn a small commission.