Friday, October 30, 2015

The Teal Pumpkin Project

Tomorrow is Halloween, so I thought I'd write up something quick as a reminder of what the Teal Pumpkin Project is all about because I've seen so many misunderstandings.

Our door with the Teal Pumpkin Project sign
First the basics.
  • According to FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education), "the Teal Pumpkin Project raises awareness of food allergies and promotions inclusion of all trick-or-treaters throughout the Halloween season." 
  • The purpose is to have non-food treats available for trick-or-treaters.
Now for my comments... the biggest misunderstanding I have seen is that individuals think that the purpose is to provide allergy-friendly treats. This is incorrect--the purpose is to have non-food items. The problem with having any type of food is that it is not inclusive of all individuals with food allergies because there are allergies/intolerances to every single food on earth. Providing non-food items means you're not excluding anyone with food allergies or intolerances. 

My second comment goes to all of those people who think this is ridiculous (feel free to read the comments on news articles if you're wondering what I'm talking about). This program is completely voluntary, and seeks to enhance inclusion. No one is forced to participate, and no one is telling anyone what they can and cannot give out on Halloween. It affects no one if you choose to participate except for those children who will actually feel included (which I would think would give anyone a warm fuzzy feeling to know kids aren't being left out). 

This all comes up because while I shopped for our goodies today, I heard a dad commenting that all of the food allergies today are ridiculous because those didn't exist when he was in school. His daughter then said that there was a boy in her class who has to carry an epi-pen, and he could die. The dad continued to say how ridiculous it was, and nothing would probably happen to the boy if he was exposed to the allergen. I wish I had had the guts to say something to them or at least applaud the girl for her concern over the boy and his safety. It was one of those moments where I was in too much shock to think of something useful to say.  

So what are we giving out? Our loot includes balloons for balloon animals (instructions included), glow sticks (bracelets, sticks, etc), sticky wall walkers, glow in the dark lizards, and mechanical pencils. We also got Smarties because it's one of the most allergy friendly candies available for all those kids who prefer candy instead of toys and can eat them. 

Our goodies we are passing out.

Our sign with the goodies in the bowl. Each child will choose two items. 

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