If you have children with food allergies, Halloween can be stressful. Dodging triggering candies, sorting through your little one’s stash, and removing unsafe treats puts a damper on the holiday. It would be great if houses had some sort of sign that their trick-or-treat offerings were safe for sensitive kids. Oh wait, there is! If you’ve ever wondered what teal pumpkins mean on Halloween, we have the info. The Teal Pumpkin Project began as a way of not only raising awareness of food allergies but also including those who have them in all the fun of Halloween.

That’s right, if you see a teal pumpkin on Halloween, know that it’s probably not just a pop of color among the fall foliage. The shade of blue isn’t accidental either. Teal is actually
the color of food allergy awareness, and pumpkins in the color on fall front porches and stoops have come to indicate allergy-friendly homes, which either have separate bowls for different types of candy or offer nonfood items to trick-or-treaters instead. Read on for to learn the history of what teal pumpkins mean for Halloween and find out how to participate this year.

How Did The Teal Pumpkin Project Begin?

Becky Basalone of Tennessee, a mother of two boys—one with severe allergies and one with several food intolerances—came up with this brilliant way to make Halloween safer for everyone but especially for people who have allergies.


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She painted a pumpkin teal and sat it outside as a way of marking her home safe for all who walked by and had food allergies. When trick-or-treaters arrived, she offered them nonfood items instead of the usual candy to eliminate the risk of an allergic reaction.

Come Halloween 2014, Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) heard of Basalone’s idea and loved it so much that the organization expanded it into an international campaign to “provide an alternative for kids with food allergies as well as other children for whom candy is not an option.”

In doing so, FARE made keeping October 31 fun for all its mission, so no one feels left out. According to Allergic Living, Basalone’s idea has spread throughout the entire United States as well as Canada and the UK since 2014.

How Can I Participate?

Participation is simple, really! Here’s how to join the Teal Pumpkin movement:

1) Paint a real or faux pumpkin teal or purchase a teal pumpkin online or at a local store and place it on your front porch or stoop.

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2) Add your house to the Teal Pumpkin Project Map (available on October 1). This map acts as a resource to families planning their trick-or-treating route around allergy-safe homes.

3) Forgo candy altogether and give out nonfood items to trick-or-treaters like toys or festive accessories like temporary tattoos, stickers, beads, and more.

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Headshot of Taylor Mead

Taylor is a freelance writer, editor, and social media manager for beauty, wellness, and lifestyle brands and publications.

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Kate McGregor is House Beautiful’s SEO Editor. She has covered everything from curated decor round-ups and shopping guides, to glimpses into the home lives of inspiring creatives, for publications such as ELLE Decor, Domino, and Architectural Digest’s Clever. 


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