​Teal Pumpkin Project making Halloween less scary for kids with food allergies

The Teal Pumpkin Project helps trick-or-treaters will food allergies easily identify houses that hand out non-food items, like crayons and toys.

Painted gourds help trick-or-treaters find homes handing out non-food treats

By painting a pumpkin teal, and you'll be letting trick-or-treaters with food allergies know that you're also handing out non-food items this Halloween. (rebekah_sue/Instagram)

Many candies are chock-full of nuts, chocolate and gluten, and that can make Halloween downright scary for some kids. 

"Children with food allergies love to trick-or-treat with their friends, to dress up in the costume. But they know they won't be able to have any of that candy at the end of the night, or trade certain candies away," said Veronica LaFemina with Food Allergy Research and Education.

The U.S. not-for-profit is spearheading the Teal Pumpkin Project, which helps trick-or-treaters with food allergies identify homes handing out alternatives to Halloween candy.

  • Will you be putting a teal pumpkin out on your porch this Halloween? Send your photos to or post to the CBC Calgary Facebook page.
Calgary's Shann Ross has already put a teal pumpkin out on her front steps. (Shann Ross)

LaFemina says to participate, all you have to do is paint a pumpkin teal, put it on your front porch, and give out non-food treats such as crayons, stickers, spider rings and swim tickets.

"Teal has been the colour of food allergy awareness here in the United States for about 20 years now," she said.

The campaign, launched in 2014, is picking up traction all over the world — including Canada.

"I first heard about it from a friend," said Calgary mom Shann Ross.

"Her son has severe peanut allergy. So, she was championing it and I think it's a great idea," 

Ross says this Halloween, her entire block is getting on board, as well as family in other areas of the city.

"My parents got excited and went to Party City to stock up on their teal pumpkins," said Ross.

Households are encouraged to take the Teal Pumpkin Project pledge and pin their address on the campaign's worldwide map to connect with other participating homes.


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