Teal Pumpkin Project™ Gains Momentum

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The Teal Pumpkin Project™ is turning TWO this Halloween — but unlike most toddlers we know, it’s not likely to throw a cranky fit in Target.

Here at Scratch or Sniff, we were SO excited to share the project when it launched last October, and our amazing readers commented to tell us they planned to put Teal Pumpkins on their porches. We are all about the non-food treat ideas — like glow-sticks, pencils, and Play-Doh — so we’ve had a great time putting together ideas for trick-or-treaters.

So if you’re new to the Teal Pumpkin Project™ or you’re still not sure what the heck we’re talking about, here’s a quick primer from your pals at Scratch or Sniff:

  • Pick up some non-food treats. We’ve shared lots of examples, but think in terms of inexpensive, fun, and non-edible.
  • Paint a pumpkin (real or artificial) with a bit of teal paint. It’s a signal that you have non-food treats available for trick-or-treaters with food allergies. You can also download these free porch signs from FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education).
  • Have a great time on Halloween. Seriously, that’s it. Nothing else. If trick-or-treaters or their parents inquire about the pumpkin or the sign, you can cheerfully explain that you have non-food items available so they’re safe for kids with food allergies. Some households also pass out candy or snacks as well, and others stick with non-food items only. Totally your preference.

We’ve been pleased that there’s been less negativity surrounding the Teal Pumpkin Project™ than we saw last year, when online commenters were accusing allergy parents of being “lazy, lazy, lazy” and trying to make “your kids’ allergy/weird behavior issue/whatever everyone else’s problem.” (The comments became more vicious from there, if you can believe it.)

The project has been making headlines for weeks now — NBC, ABC, Fox, Yahoo, USA Today, The Chicago Tribune, and more — and it even earned an endorsement from Ashton Kutcher.


We’re so jazzed about the publicity the Teal Pumpkin Project™ has been getting in its second year, and we can’t wait to see how the momentum builds over the next couple of Halloweens.

Let’s hope that in the near future, there’s a teal pumpkin on just about every porch — and a lot of happy trick-or-treaters who don’t have to miss out on the fun.

Heather Laura Clarke, a contributing writer at Scratch or Sniff, lives in Nova Scotia, Canada, with her high-school sweetheart husband, seven-year-old son, and five-year-old daughter. She writes for newspapers and magazines across Canada and the U.S., and blogs about her family life at Heather's Handmade Life. Follow her adventures on Twitter or Instagram.

2 Comments to Teal Pumpkin Project™ Gains Momentum

  1. Kelly

    The question I have and not sure if I’m just missing the info… I want to participate in this but we are living with my parents since we moved and they are passing out candy this year, can you have non food items and participate in the teal pumpkin project if you also have candy that is in a separate bowl? I dont want to not follow the rules and put someone in harms way. Thanks!

    • Absolutely, Kelly! At our house, we pass out mini chocolate bars and bags of chips, but we have a separate bowl at the door with our non-food treats (glow-sticks and Halloween pencils).

      Some houses (Roo’s, for example) will only hand out non-food treats because her own daughters have severe food allergies. But since we don’t have allergies in our house, we will have both options available for trick-or-treaters.

      So glad to hear you’re participating! :)

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