It’s October and that means its’s Halloween all month long. We are hit with Halloween items it feels like from mid August on . A few years ago the “Teal Pumpkin Campaign” started. At first it was small and only those in the food allergy world knew about it. Last year the media picked up on it, This year stores are even selling items that are specifically for it.
This campaign’s aim was to raise awareness for food allergies and to have safe non- food alternatives available for children with food allergies. Sadly, though this message has not made it to many of our own food allergy advocates. I am constantly seeing posts about having peanut and tree nut free candies available, or seeing lists that people are saying are good for allergies yet, they contain other of the top 8 allergens. Twizzlers, have wheat. Laffy Taffy has an egg warning on some flavors, junior mints have milk, I could keep going but you get my point. We need to stop thinking that yet again the words food allergies is synonymous with nut allergies.
The whole point of the Teal Pumpkin Campaign was to encourage non- food items to be given out. So that no child would be excluded regardless of allergens, or dietary issues. This is a great idea! it includes everyone. So someone please tell me why am I not seeing this message coming across in many food allergy groups or even media stories about the campaign. Just today, I came across a story in a parent paper that was talking about “Tricks for a food allergy a safe Halloween” The author only talked about peanut allergies and gave alternatives for peanut allergic kids, Then at the bottom gave tips for other kids at the end. Now some may say, maybe that’s what the author knows, maybe she didn’t know any better. Sorry, I am not going to take that for an answer. We need to STOP putting out advice like that and really stick to the true message of the Teal Pumpkin Campaign, No food period!
Please educate yourself, your friends and you neighborhoods having peanut or tree nut candy is not enough and its not being food allergy friendly. Go to Party City or your local dollar store and get pencils, favors. DON’T GET PLAYDOUGH! and have some little knickknacks around . I have 2 buckets one with regular candy and one that is food free. Let’s help make sure ALL kids are included and we continuously raise awareness for all food allergies.