It’s gone viral in a good way, and it all began right here in East Tennessee. In the fall of 2012, a local mom, Becky Basalone, felt bone-chilling fear around Halloween, but it wasn’t the ghosts and goblins that scared her. She was terrified of losing her son, who has severe food allergies, due to the traditional candy-seeking holiday.
Instead of telling her son that he could not participate, she came up with an idea. What if there was a way to identify houses where the 1 in 13 kids with food allergies could trick or treat safely?
And the Teal Pumpkin Project was born. As the director of the Food Allergy Community of East Tennessee, Basalone had a platform to help her idea grow. In 2014, it was picked up by the national group, FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education), and has since spread across the globe.
It just goes to show that one person really can make a difference.
Here’s how it works:
- PIck up some non-food treats for Halloween
- Buy a pumpkin (this can be a real pumpkin or a reusable one)
- Paint it teal, the color representing Food Allergy Awareness
- Put the pumpkin on your front porch
This tell-tale sign indicates to families that you have safe treats for girls and boys who may have life-threatening food allergies.
But it’s not only for them. Other kids may really enjoy mixing in some non-candy treats as well! It will certainly help prevent tummy aches later on.
Ideas for non-candy treats:
- Plastic Vampire Fangs
- Spider Rings
- Glow Sticks
- Temporary Tattoos
- Pencils or Fun-shaped erasers
- Bouncy Balls
FARE reports that every three minutes, a food allergy reaction sends someone to the emergency room, and childhood hospitalizations for food allergies tripled between the late 1990s and the mid-2000s. The Teal Pumpkin Project is such a simple way you can make a huge difference.
Find out more about Food Allergies on the Covenant Health Online Library at Library.CovenantHealth.com and search for “Food Allergies.”