Have you heard of the Teal Pumpkin Project? It is a movement through FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) to make trick-or-treating more enjoyable and safer for kids with allergies, since most candy contains nuts, dairy and other ingredients which are red flags to kids with allergies. Instead of passing out candy, you pass out a fun non-food item, of some sort. The below is a list of my favorite novelty toys to pass out for Halloween and also for stuffing Easter Eggs, Advent Calendars, and party favors for birthdays. This post contains some affiliate links.
I’m one of those moms who has always been very sensitive to the diet of my children, as my own family struggles with a history of allergies and so I’m a huge advocate of allergy awareness. Like the ALS ice-bucket challenge, even if you didn’t donate or pour a bucket of ice on your head (our family did both) these challenges are a way to help bring awareness of causes needing more support to the public.
However, when I first heard about the Teal Pumpkin Project, I had some conflicting memories pop up. As a child, my dad was a local dentist, and he would pass out toothbrushes for Halloween. This made our house very popular and unpopular. All the parents would drag their kids to our house to pick up the free toothbrushes and all the kids at school would remind me of the crappy toothbrushes, somehow I personally, forced upon them instead of candy.
Fast forward, thank goodness we have moved past the severe judgment of getting anything other than candy in our bags. Thank you Teal Pumpkin Project! Though toothbrushes probably would still be unpopular amongst kids?
Families supporting the Teal Pumpkin Project, paint or decorate their orange pumpkins to the shade of greenish-blue to show their support and that they will be offering non-food treats. Also, here is a free printable sign, via FARE, to post outside your door and or along with your teal pumpkins to let others know you have non-food items. I don’t know if we will do the same next year, but I like the idea of handing out fun hands-on-goodies rather than candy for a change.
I know some are against this Teal Pumpkin Project. I’ve heard some remarks such as the ever dreaded “change” word and also “Food allergy hysteria will destroy Halloween.” Or maybe they are some of the damaged ones from being forced to pick up toothbrush treats from my house? Well, for those neophobes, I’m sure there will always be people passing out candy. Besides, I remember as a child also getting small treats instead of candy in my trick-or-treat bag. That was the best, spinning a spindle top while sucking on a lollipop after walking the neighborhood with all the glow sticks, entertainment and excitement. I think a bag full of sweet treats and fun goodies is the best. So America, if enough of us do the Teal Pumpkin Project then we will help make Halloween all the more enjoyable for all kids and families.
Here are some of our favorite ideas, non-food items, to pass out, AND what items are leftover, I use to stuff in our handmade German Advent calendar, or Easter Eggs and or give as part of our party favors for my son’s birthday parties. So these multipurpose novelty toys can be used for more than just Halloween treats.
1) Toothbrushes (if you skipped this part of the post go back, lol)
2) Glow bracelets, wands, necklaces, flashing LED bumpy ring (This is a way better deal than the $1 store)
3) Slap bracelets,Mini slinkie
4) Super Bouncy Balls, Fun Erasers (These items are also the perfect size for stuffing Easter Eggs)
5) Airplane gliders
6) Monster Pop Ups (Also great for stuffing Easter Eggs)
7) Spider rings
8) Clappers, Mini Hand Clappers; Actually, I have collected a couple of these and love them. I keep them around the house, and in my diaper bag, to clap and let my boys clap randomly, when I just need that extra distraction when changing a diaper, sitting at the doctor office, or traveling
9) My favorite: Spinning Tops, I really love spinning tops, and the fact that they help children develop fine motor skills.
10) Toy Asssortment (100 Pc) Whistles, Masks, Porcupine Balls, Squeeze Balls, Puzzles, Paddle Balls, Toy Dinosaurs and more
11) Another novelty toy assortment: (124 Pc) Sticky Hands, Flying Frogs, Disc Shooters, Mustache Lip Whistles and more
Now, I’m usually the mom who does the opposite of what most in the ‘norm’ seem to do but when it comes to challenges and bringing awareness to a good cause; I’m all about jumping on the bandwagon of support and awareness. So pour that ice bucket over my head and paint my pumpkins teal because I’m all in for the novelty fun of adding non-perishable items for trick-or-treating.
And when my son asks why we pass out toys instead of candy, I will take that opportunity to help teach my son about being aware and considerate of others who have allergies limiting their ability to enjoy trick-or-treating. Actually, I already had this opportunity as we were painting; he asked why we were painting all the pumpkins blue, and he had more questions and interest than I thought he would have regarding the subject. He then went on to tell me about some of his classmates and their allergies and he finished with, “I’m glad we are giving something so everyone can have something when they dress up for Halloween.” Ok, then an hour later he came and told me that while he likes the toys, he would prefer the candy over the toys. Funny how he was thinking about this so much; geez, anyway, I love any opportunity to teach my son empathy and awareness! This year will actually be our second year to be participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project and passing out non-perishable hands-on-goodies; or toothbrushes! Happy Trick-or-Treating!!
What do you think about passing out fun novelty toys instead of candy? Have you heard and or participated in the Teal Pumpkin Project? If not, will you join me in taking the Teal Pumpkin Project Pledge for Halloween this year?