Food Allergies.

It’s a topic that can leave many uncomfortable. Or maybe without an opinion at all. For our family it’s a serious thing.

My youngest son was diagnosed with a peanut allergy when he was 14 months old. In the same month my daughter was also diagnosed with a milk and egg allergy. Her allergy is, thankfully, not as serious as his and she has since outgrown the egg allergy.

We have to carry an EpiPen at all times for our son though.

We avoid all the foods that contain known allergens to him as well as possible allergens. At this point we know he reacts to 3 foods, but there are likely more. He has a full allergy test scheduled for next spring. He’ll be 3 ½. Too young to understand what this whole food allergy thing is all about.

So when days like Halloween come around it’s an uneasy time for food allergy mamas like me. My sweet 3-year-old wants to do everything just like his big brother and sister, including trick-or-treating. But he doesn’t yet understand that eating that Snickers bar could cause him serious harm. That is why we participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project. Not only for our son but for others who may be out that night struggling to find things their children can safely consume.

The point of the Teal Pumpkin Project is to create a safe place for kids with food allergies to trick-or-treat by having nonfood items available instead of potentially dangerous candy. Participating in this doesn’t have to be a big expense. Just grabbing a package of Halloween themed pencils or some bouncy balls is an easy way to get involved and is so appreciated by kids and parents who have to deal with this. We also keep some (safe for our kids) candy in the house to hand out but if anyone asks for a nonfood item, we happily get out the teal bucket and let them choose. And the actual pumpkin doesn’t have to be a big extra cost either! Last year my husband painted a pumpkin we had picked out from the pumpkin patch but as this movement grows there are more and more stores that carry plastic versions.

By placing a teal pumpkin on your porch you are letting families like mine know that we can safely stop without worry. Educating those that are unaware of just how dangerous food allergies can be is key to creating safe environments for our kids and our family is SO thankful for movements like this that are helping to do just that.

Cari McCullough

I am a lover of Jesus, a wife and a stay at home mama of three. I am constantly learning and growing and doing my best to figure out this life I've been given. I'm also a food allergy mama and expert label reader. I love to spend time with my friends talking and laughing over wine and Mexican food.