Skip To Content
Blog Get a Quote

Why a teal pumpkin means the world to some families

Halloween can be a tough holiday for any family coping with allergies. A teal pumpkin on your stoop says your treats are allergen-free.

Parenting style pop quiz: How does rolling up your sleeves and painting a pumpkin bright teal with your kids sound to you? If it sounds great, you are Crafty Activist Parent. If it sounds awful, no worries. You can be Involved Tidy Parent (more on how in a bit).

Either way, you can participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project, help raise awareness about food allergies, and ensure that all kids have a safe and fun-filled Halloween. My family participated for the first time last year when my oldest was two and my youngest was just three months old. Although we didn’t have food allergies in our family – yet – my breastfed infant was sensitive to dairy in my diet, making milk chocolate a no-go for me.

A year later, my infant has outgrown her dairy intolerance, but we’ve recently learned that she’s allergic to peanuts and tree nuts. Her diagnosis is difficult, for sure, but we’re coping in part by helping other families learn about participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project.

What is the Teal Pumpkin Project?

I first learned about the Teal Pumpkin Project through my work as a family health dietitian. Becky Basalone, mom to two boys with allergies and intolerances, started the Teal Pumpkin project in 2012 as a way to promote Halloween-season allergy awareness in her own community. The nonprofit organization FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education) adopted the project in 2014 and now provides free resources to anyone willing to participate.

Participating is simple – just stock up on some non-food treats, announce your participation by displaying either a DIY teal pumpkin, a store-bought one (most big box stores have options) or even just a printed sign, and add your address to FARE’s Teal Pumpkin Project Map.

“My kids don’t have allergies”

If your own children don’t have food allergies, why participate? In a nutshell, to support your community. Just think about the joy your non-allergic kids get from Halloween. They plan their costumes months in advance, eagerly engage in school parties and neighborhood trick-or-treating, gorge on candy and strategically swap items from their stashes.

If the thought of all that candy stresses you out a little, think about families with food allergies where every occasion involving shared food is a source of stress. Even if every allergy family participated (currently one out of thirteen kids), food-allergic kids would only be able to confidently trick-or-treat at less than ten percent of their neighbors’ homes. Why not pay your family’s good health forward and help families with food allergies fully enjoy the holiday, too?

Haven Life: Life insurance that’s actually simple5 Star Ratings

Easy + Simple + Affordable

“I'm so happy I chose Haven Life for my policy needs. The entire process was quick, easy, stress-free and convenient. Their customer service is top-notch.” - Sandra

Learn more

An allergy-free Halloween is fun for the other kids, too

You may wonder if kids actually like non-food treats, especially when the alternative is candy. I promise, they do! Think about your child’s excitement when plundering the goodie bag from a birthday party. Treats are great, of course, and they’ll always play an important role in Halloween, but trinkets last longer and won’t be sequestered by mom and dad after the initial candy binge. Handing out allergy-friendly candy is an option, too, although FARE highly encourages having a non-food option handy.

The best allergy-free treat ideas for Halloween

Non-food treats: The sky is the limit! Try glow sticks and bracelets, temporary tattoos, stickers, spider rings, erasers, bubbles, money (really!) or any number of novelty toys like whistles and maze puzzles.

Candy free from common allergens: Be mindful that some families may still decline these options due to concerns about cross-contamination or sensitivities to food dyes. That said, lollipops and gummy candies tend to be free of common allergens.

Dried fruit: If you must pass out healthy food (some schools request it) options include individual packages of prunes, plain raisins or dried cranberries, or snack bags of freeze-dried fruit. Note that this category is pretty much limited to dried fruit, which may still be a no-go for anyone with a specific fruit allergy or oral allergy syndrome.

A child paints a pumpkin teal

Making the holiday fun, safe … and maybe a little sugary

At my house this year, we’ll be handing out fun tattoos and my personal favorite candy, Sour Patch Kids. I know, I know, I’m a dietitian. Shouldn’t I be skipping the candy altogether? Actually, I strongly believe that sugary treats play a major role in the overall healthy diet of every kid. Allowing treats in moderation throughout the year – and even in potentially uncomfortable amounts on holidays like Halloween – helps children to feel relaxed around these foods and recognize their role in celebrations as well as daily life. This strategy has already been working well with my older daughter, who often leaves her treats half-eaten when she’s full or when a more interesting opportunity to play presents itself. Of course, I want my younger daughter to adopt this attitude, too, so that means incorporating safe treats into our day-to-day life and celebrations.

I also want my children to enjoy childhood to the fullest extent possible, including normal experiences like trick-or-treating. For that, I need the help of other parents. My allergic daughter may always need an alternative safe treat that I provide at birthday parties and the like, but because of the Teal Pumpkin Project, I know Halloween won’t be any less fun for her just because of her allergies. I hope you’ll choose to participate!

Haven Life: Life insurance that’s actually simple

Great News...

Peace of mind might be closer than you think.

Learn more

Diana K. Rice, RD, LD, is known as The Baby Steps Dietitian and is the founder of Diana K. Rice Nutrition, LLC, where she works with families to eat well and reduce the stress surrounding their food choices. She specializes in pre- and postnatal nutrition as well as feeding young children and is a strong advocate for cooking with kids, family meals, and body positivity. Her expertise has been featured in Fit Pregnancy, Parents, U.S. News and World Report, Today’s Dietitian, and many other publications. Follow her blog at and connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.

Default author headshot

About Adam Weinberg

Adam Weinberg is the Brand Director for Haven Life, where he’s working hard to make life insurance easy. Adam is a creative problem solver who uses unique brand moments to create meaningful customer experiences.  Adam has more than a decade of diverse editorial, marketing, and branding experience, including work on several award-winning campaigns for various digital media companies.

Read more by Adam Weinberg

Our editorial policy

Haven Life is a customer-centric life insurance agency that’s backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe navigating decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall wellness can be refreshingly simple.

Our editorial policy

Haven Life is a customer centric life insurance agency that’s backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe navigating decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall wellness can be refreshingly simple.

Our content is created for educational purposes only. Haven Life does not endorse the companies, products, services or strategies discussed here, but we hope they can make your life a little less hard if they are a fit for your situation.

Haven Life is not authorized to give tax, legal or investment advice. This material is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for tax, legal, or investment advice. Individuals are encouraged to seed advice from their own tax or legal counsel.

Our disclosures

Haven Term is a Term Life Insurance Policy (DTC and ICC17DTC in certain states, including NC) issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), Springfield, MA 01111-0001 and offered exclusively through Haven Life Insurance Agency, LLC. In NY, Haven Term is DTC-NY 1017. In CA, Haven Term is DTC-CA 042017. Haven Term Simplified is a Simplified Issue Term Life Insurance Policy (ICC19PCM-SI 0819 in certain states, including NC) issued by the C.M. Life Insurance Company, Enfield, CT 06082. Policy and rider form numbers and features may vary by state and may not be available in all states. Our Agency license number in California is OK71922 and in Arkansas 100139527.

MassMutual is rated by A.M. Best Company as A++ (Superior; Top category of 15). The rating is as of Aril 1, 2020 and is subject to change. MassMutual has received different ratings from other rating agencies.

Haven Life Plus (Plus) is the marketing name for the Plus rider, which is included as part of the Haven Term policy and offers access to additional services and benefits at no cost or at a discount. The rider is not available in every state and is subject to change at any time. Neither Haven Life nor MassMutual are responsible for the provision of the benefits and services made accessible under the Plus Rider, which are provided by third party vendors (partners). For more information about Haven Life Plus, please visit:

You might also like

Get our most-read stories, twice a month

.newsletter-msg-success, .newsletter-msg-error { display: none; }

What our customers are saying

Sign up for our newsletter

Get our most-read stories, twice a month

Thanks for signing up. See you in your inbox soon.