The Teal Pumpkin Project


I’ve been trying to type a post about life with food allergies that wasn’t super Debbie Downer, circa Saturday Night Live all month. Today is the 30th & this post is due October 1st. The truth is life with food allergies stinks. Being the parent of a child with life-threatening food allergies is terrifying, sad & often times isolating. Womp WompAn easy, carefree childhood flew out the window the day our skin test showed positive to peanuts, tree nuts & eggs for our nine-month-old twins. No spontaneous froyo dates or Saturday morning donut runs. Play cafes, restaurants & even family members homes became something we choose to avoid rather than attempting to explain the fear of cross-contamination or the early symptoms of anaphylaxis

As allergy kiddos get older they face even more chances of exclusion. The sleepover & birthday party invites don’t come. Maybe they’re sitting at the peanut free table, labeled as different or weird. Maybe they get chased on the playground with a package of peanut butter crackers because a kid wanted to see what would really happen if they ate peanut butter. Holidays? Those are the worst. Awkward and depressing not being able to partake in yet another cookie decorating, class party or Trick or Treat nite.

Look at all this food I can’t eat. 

This is where The Teal Pumpkin Project comes in!!!! The Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) created the Teal Pumpkin Project to raise awareness of food allergies and promote inclusion of ALL trick or treaters. Instead of families with food allergies dreading Trick or Treat you can help us have a magical night! It’s so EASY!!! Grab a teal pumpkin from Michael’s or Target to put in your yard or on your porch. Stock up on some non-food trick or treat goodies! And THAT’S IT!! You just made every parent with a food allergy child cry and want to be your best friend.  If you’re inclined you can even add your home to the Teal Pumpkin map or print a cute little sign.

teal pumpkin project
The TEAL PUMPKIN PROJECT and the Teal Pumpkin Image are trademarks of Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE).

On one of my allergy support Facebook pages (yep, I spend hours there) I read this amazing essay about a boy who was in a terrible accident. He came back to school with severe disabilities. Instead of shunning him or acting like he was a burden, the whole community learned how to care for him. The adults taught the children to befriend him and keep him safe. They made special accommodations at their homes so he could experience sleepovers and playdates.  The community rallied around him and his family for this simple fact, we belong to each other. Children with life-threatening food allergies belong to all of us! Find a food allergy family and ask the parents how can safely include their child in a playdate. If you coach a team use to send out a list of allergy safe, after practice snacks!!! Show your littles the Daniel Tiger allergy episode and talk to them about how their friends might not be able to eat what they eat. Support The Teal Pumpkin Project this Halloween!!!!

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Liz loves the chaos of raising her four littles, 6 and under with her hubby, who she met on a blind date. She loves it so much she works outside the home full time caring for seniors. She recently become passionate about food allergy awareness when her youngest, identical twin boys, were diagnosed with a peanut/treenut allergy. When she isn't cleaning up the food her twins throw on the floor or separating her bickering big kids she loves happy hour at Forno in the Short North. You can guess how often that happens. Liz has a serious shopping addiction & knows where all the good thrift stores in Cbus are. With her copious amounts of free time she loves scrapbooking, making recipes nobody at her house will touch & eating all the amazing baked goods the city of Columbus has to offer. Think Sassafras Bakery doughnut muffins & Cherbourg's nut free box of the day! She absolutely loves sharing bits of honest motherhood on her Instagram account @lizbon_j and occasionally on her blog Liz Bon J.