I’m very excited about Halloween. It’s my first experience of celebrating this spectacular and although we have tried to replicate this, when I lived abroad in different countries, nothing compares to the US. I’m already blown away by the effort that goes into this day. Parades, parties, costumes and of course trick or treating!
However, Halloween can be a tricky time for families managing food allergies because many traditional Halloween treats aren’t safe for children with life-threatening food allergies. Children with food allergies are commonplace with roughly 2 children in every classroom suffering from a food allergy. Many children with these allergies have to give their candy away, and worse still, not be able to trick or treat and only wear a costume, which is not the most inclusive experience I would wish for them.
However the Teal Project is here to help. This fantastic project is intended to raise awareness and promote inclusion of all trick or treaters. As many popular Halloween treats contain allergens such as nuts, milk, eggs, soy or wheat, it can be a tricky time to keep children safe. Food allergies can kill so parents, have to be extra vigilant during this time. However, by pledging your support to the Teal Project, parents whose children suffer from food allergies know that their children can receive a treat without the risk.
It’s pretty simple to get involved. First off, go online to pledge your support so that parents know which homes offer non-food treats. Then all you need to do is pop a Teal pumpkin outside your home and if you don’t have time download a poster to place in your window. Then prepare some non-food treats such as a goody bag with non expensive items such a glow bracelets, pencils, stencils amongst others and you are all set!
However, by supporting this project does not mean you have to stop having the traditional orange pumpkins outside, nor do you have to stop handing out candy but in order to be safe it is recommended to keep candy and non food treats separate.
The Teal Project is part of the Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) association. Other initiatives they have is the upcoming FARE Walk for Food Allergy that is taking place on October 10 at Glen Island in New Rochelle. This walk is intended to aid in raising critically needed funds to support the 15 million Americans living with food allergies and to raise awareness of food allergy, a life-altering and potentially life-threatening disease.
If you are interested in taking part in the walk Participants can sign up to walk individually or as part of a team. For more information, or to register or volunteer, visit www.foodallergywalk.org/westchester2015. Sponsorship opportunities remain available, enabling businesses to show their support for families who are managing food allergies.