The Teal Pumpkin Project is an easy way to make Halloween more inclusive.

By Liz Steelman
Updated October 20, 2017
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It seems that Halloween has gotten more colorful. Over the past few years, you might have noticed a teal pumpkin displayed among the jack-o’-lanterns on your neighbors’ porches. However, these chromatic additions are more than a decorating trend—they’re actually part of the Teal Pumpkin Project—a nationwide initiative to make Halloween more inclusive to children with food allergies. If you’re wondering what the teal pumpkin’s meaning is, how the Teal Pumpkin Project started, how to make your own teal pumpkin, and how you can participate this Halloween, read below for more information about the Teal Pumpkin Project.

Teal Pumpkin Meaning

In 2014, the Food Allergy Community of East Tennessee (FACET) started the Teal Pumpkin Project as a way to raise awareness of food allergies during the food-focused holiday. The project aimed to encourage treat-givers to give out trinkets and other non-food goodies to ensure all children could participate in danger-free fun. Treat-givers who were participating in the project would paint a pumpkin teal, and then place it on their front porch to let families know that they would be offering treats other than candy and other foods for children with allergies. Families who participate can choose to just give non-food treats to trick-or-treaters or to give out candy, but also have non-food treats available as well for families that need them. Over the past three years, the campaign has been adopted by the Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) organization and thousands of families across the country have participated by putting teal pumpkins on their front porch and registering their house on FARE’s Teal Pumpkin Project map.

How to Make a Teal Pumpkin

The easiest way to make a teal pumpkin is to paint it with teal paint. Acrylic is the best paint for painting your pumpkin and is widely available—you can either purchase it at your local craft store, or purchase Apple Barrel acrylic paint for $5 on Amazon (it’s Prime eligible, too!). If you’re looking to create a teal allergy pumpkin you can use year after year, we would recommend painting a faux pumpkin, such as Funkins. If you’d like to try to make a unique pumpkin or want some creative teal pumpkin ideas, here are some fun, easy DIY pumpkin painting techniques to jazz them up. You can purchase a plastic teal pumpkin online at retailers like Michaels, Target, and the Oriental Trading company, too. For those who would like to participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project, but don’t want to make or buy a teal pumpkin, FARE has signs, flyers, stickers, and other free printables that families can use to signify that they have non-food treats available.

Teal Pumpkin Project Treat Ideas

Stumped at what non-food treats fit the parameters of the teal pumpkin project? FARE recommends some Teal Pumpkin Project ideas to start, like inexpensive trinkets that can be found at the dollar store or online in bulk like pencils, bracelets, glow sticks, bouncy balls, stickers, or bookmarks. They recommend avoiding non-food items that contain food allergens like wheat (some clays) or latex (balloons). If you’re only looking to purchase a handful of non-food items, figurines or other items that can be found in the dollar store or dollar section of retailers like Target make a special treat. For example, Robin Berl, a mother of two children with food allergies, recounted how special her children felt when a shopkeeper gave them two small dinosaur toys as a treat.