The-Teal-Pumpkin-Project-5By Sarah Vander Schaaff

How we celebrate Halloween is a sign of the times: what costumes are popular, what the weather may bring (snow, hurricanes, ice or wind) and even what we dole out to eager trick-or-treaters.

Considering nearly 1 in 13 children has a food allergy, a rate that has increased about 50% since 1997, it makes sense that food allergy awareness and its associated color, teal, are joining the wave.

FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education) is encouraging families to think about making a few additions to Halloween. Their website provides ways for families to create a map of allergy-friendly treat givers, to print a teal pumpkin sign or sheet of stickers, and advice on how to distribute both candy and non-candy treats to keep both factions of treat seekers happy and safe.

They also have a list of non-food items to avoid, including Play-Doh (wheat) and toys that might contain latex.

I wish I had gotten on this bandwagon a lot earlier and made some bookmarks or thoughtful items that don’t fall into the “junk” category, but I admit that the best non-food item I stocked up on this year were some colorful pencils with Anna and Elsa. Still, it’s the beginning of something that matters; not only to people like my niece, but also to my daughter’s close friend who will be joining us tonight, along with her EpiPen.

As for what to do with all the candy those with no allergies collect, we’d love to hear from you about your ideas to ration it out, or trade it in. One website that lists dentists who will collect candy to send to the troops can be found here.

Umbrellaoutside1And, finally, if you’re wondering how to dress for the weather tonight, I am going to make a shameless plug to watch the clip from my spot on the Weather Channel’s AMHQ that aired yesterday and is included here. I’m no Martha Stewart, but necessity, the unpredictable weather of New Jersey, and my daughters’ commitment to verisimilitude when it comes to costumes, kicked me into high gear. My favorite adaptation that didn’t make the segment was the glow-in-the-dark umbrella I made with duct tape. Yes, between math homework, making dinner, and not folding the laundry, I made that.

Here is the link:


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