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Have you Heard of the Teal Pumpkin Project? An Alternative to Candy for Trick-or-Treaters

Already stocked up on your candy for the trick-or-treaters next Tuesday? What about those kids who have to deal with food allergies, or who cannot enjoy candy for other reasons?

Another mom mentioned this to me recently and, I must admit, it had never crossed my mind that some kids don’t get to enjoy all the treats they bring home. Then I found the Teal Pumpkin Project.

Launched by Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), the Teal Pumpkin Project’s goal is to encourage communities to start a new tradition so children with allergies can also enjoy Halloween by receiving non-candy treats when trick-or-treating.

Why Teal?

It’s the color of food allergy awareness. The Teal Pumpkin Project is designed to promote safety, inclusion and respect of individuals managing food allergies, and to keep Halloween a fun, positive experience for all.

All you need to do is paint any size pumpkin teal, and place it on your doorstep in clear view of callers indicating you have non-food treats available.

Although it’s not a challenge we have to deal with in our home, I prefer the idea of non-candy treats coming back to my house anyway.

What kind of non-candy treats can I buy that won’t blow the budget?

I surveyed some friends, and it appears that Americans are expected to shell out for Halloween, almost as much as Christmas! With the cost of candy, costumes, and decorations expected to total $8.9 billion this year with the average American household spending $74 on candy alone.

With a budget of half of that in mind, I set out shopping in Frisco. I covered the usual Frisco stores: Wal-Mart, Target, Dollar Tree, Kroger. Then, I visited the craft stores: Joann’s, Michael’s, and Hobby Lobby. And, let’s not forget Toys ‘R Us.

I sought out each store’s party favors and dollar bargain areas, avoiding any small plastic items that can break in two seconds. More and more stores have these areas set up all year round and the options are endless.

Items I thought would work really well from the main grocery chains, many of which can be bought in bulk packs, include:

Walmart even has a deal called “Customer Choice” which means you can buy 4 different packs for $10. Each pack has 12 items so you can end up with a nice bucket of almost 200 items for your $40! This makes it a potential one-stop shop for non-candy treats.

Two of the stores had bulk packets (20 count in each) of mini “Grab N’Go Play Packs” featuring Disney and Nickelodeon characters for boys and girls… what a fun treat with a coloring book, crayons, and stickers included!

The craft stores also have some great items. I picked up sticker books for just $1 in Joann’s. Each book holds at least 10 pages of stickers depicting numerous themes for both boys and girls. Separate them out into single or half sheets to distribute.

At Dollar Tree, every item is $1 so with the help of my 7 year-old I picked out bulk item packs of mini bubbles, glow sticks (a particular hit this time of year), and glitter glue tubes.

Even better, go with an old tradition by wrapping up coins: pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters. I remember that there was nothing sweeter than reaping a money box reward somewhere in my Halloween bag.

If you connect with your neighborhood via a website or app like Nextdoor, why not encourage your neighbors to take part and spread the word about the Teal Pumpkin Project. It’s easy to buy a small pot of teal paint and paint a pumpkin to promote Halloween as a more inclusive event for those children with food allergies.

To find the homes that are participating AND to add your house to the list, this interactive map allows people participating in FARE’s Teal Pumpkin Project.

click the map!

Happy Halloween, Frisco!