Happy Teal Halloween!
Halloween used to be my least favorite holiday. Once our boys were diagnosed with food allergies, I literally feared this day. However, over time, it’s actually become one of my favorite days with my kiddos. Here’s why…
Reason #1: The Switch Witch
When my kiddos were really little, we told them about the Switch Witch. They would trick-or-treat just like all their friends (with gloves on!) and then when they came home, they would leave their Jack O Lantern buckets on the front door-step for the Switch Witch. She would then come and replace their candy with little toys. I found adorable Frankenstein buckets and I would have them pre-filled with Star Wars toys, bouncy balls, Halloween arts and crafts projects, stickers, little games and puzzles, and so on. Then, they could play with all their new toys over the next few days and not feel sad and left out.
I did this for both boys, with zero food or candy, for years. As they got a little older, I started incorporating safe candy along with the toys. But it’s always been about the experience of trick-or-treating, followed by a few cool new gadgets, rather than about missing out on candy.
Reason #2: The Teal Pumpkin Project
I just love the Teal Pumpkin Project (TPP). Originally created by a food allergy mom as an educational activity in a support group in East Tennessee, FARE has turned it into a worldwide movement to create a safer, happier Halloween for all kids. It’s just a wonderful opportunity to educate your friends, neighbors and schools about food allergies during a fun kid holiday and make sure everyone is safe and included. Who doesn’t love that?!
We have had TPP signs on our door the last several years and I always check the FARE website for additional printable art projects or kids, signs or décor you can download for free for your own home or to bring to school or a Halloween party. I always offer non-food items (such as race cars, notebooks, mini coloring books, bouncy balls or glow sticks) and super safe candy such as Yum Earth lollipops for trick-or-treaters.
You can check out more information on the TPP here.
I have been thrilled to share the news about the TPP in the media the last few years. You can see my NPR.org article here, my CNN.com article here and my FOX-CT interview here.
Reason #3: Gaining Independence and Having Fun
Halloween has definitely been a time where we allow our kids a little more freedom with each passing year. Now, they are only 7 and 9, so obviously we are still with them the entire evening. But our neighborhood is safe and packed with family friends, so each year we trust them to go a little ahead of us, knowing they are with buddies and all the parents have eyes on each other’s children. I know, after years of repeated conversation and training, that they absolutely won’t open or eat any candy. It’s a great marker of time and an opportunity to continue to teach self-advocacy. One of my best friends and fellow food allergy mama hosts an early dinner for the kids (and a little wine for the adults!). We eat our safe food, provide wipes for everyone to clean their hands and all walk together. It’s been so awesome to watch them mature with each year, handle their allergies like champs and enjoy this holiday no matter if they eat the candy or not.
Happy Teal Halloween from my Flash and Aquaman! Hope you all had a safe and happy night!