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.
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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