Teal Pumpkin Project: Halloween for Chicago kids with food allergies

Having kids with food allergies can be hard. The all-consuming worry that the very thing that is supposed to nourish, sustain and provide building blocks for your children to grow, can actually cause harm is heartbreaking for any parent. For some, a child may become sick with digestive issues, others may have a rash, and then for others it is much, much worse.

When it comes to food allergies, it is a vigilant routine that few understand. Reading labels, calling food manufacturers, making your own food, avoiding restaurants, remembering the EpiPen can be daunting. It is also daunting for a kid trying to absorb all this knowledge to protect themselves.

When my kids were diagnosed with allergies, as much as I wanted to take control of the situation, I knew would be just doing them a huge disservice in life. So, we talked about it. They are now forever asking all the adults in their life what is safe for them to eat. They are scoping out safe foods in the store, they are looking at ingredient lists with me in the supermarket, and we discuss at length in restaurants what is safe for them to eat.

That is a lot to take in for a six- and five-year-old.

This vigilance by our entire family to keep them safe is an everyday thing, so you can only imagine what birthdays, holidays, or special occasions are like at our house. It is a constant worry for every party, event and social gathering we attend. We bring a lot of our own food and treats, and we talk about how to stay safe at a party.

A time that is supposed to be relaxing and fun can sometimes be worrisome for my kids (no matter how many of their special cookies I bake).

So, when I saw the Teal Pumpkin Project being sponsored by Food Allergy Research and Education, I jumped for joy! Participants can put a teal pumpkin sticker in their window, or paint a teal pumpkin at their house to signify they will offer a NON-FOOD treats option for those that suffer from food allergies. YAY!

I cannot wait to paint my teal pumpkin and buy some stickers today. I know my kids are not the only ones in my neighborhood. I also know that there will be a few kids that will be able to relax a little bit and have some fun this Halloween!

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