Do you wonder why you see teal pumpkins around the neighborhood on Halloween? It’s due to a movement called the Teal Pumpkin Project.  

What is the Teal Pumpkin Project?

The Teal Pumpkin Project is a worldwide movement to create a safer, happier Halloween for all kids. Providing safe treats for kids with allergies raises awareness. 

Sure, kids don’t NEED to go trick or treating and parents can double and triple check the candy they get, but it’s nice for kids not to be left out just because they have a life-threatening allergy. 

How does the Teal Pumpkin Work?

A teal pumpkin on your porch indicates that safe treats are being given out.

Parents and children will know that this is the place to stop to get a safe treat.

Why it’s important


Food allergies can be life-threatening, and they affect 1 in 13 children in the United States. 

With those odds there is a high chance that someone at your door this Halloween will have an allergy.  The Solution? Hand out Non-Candy Treats for Halloween. Participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project. I’ve rounded up some Teal Pumpkin Project Ideas below.

Non Teal Reasons to Eat Less Candy

  • Excess sugar consumption is bad for you health.
  • Sugar is addicting.  The more candy we eat the less room for real nourishing foods.
  • The cheap candy handed out on Halloween contain harmful ingredients.  
  • Some chocolate manufactures still use slavery to make their chocolate. 
    •  In the past, Hershey’s, Nestle and Mars have all been sued for using child slave labor to source cocoa.

How Do I participate

  1. Place a Teal Pumpkin in front of your home.
  2. Provide non-food treats for trick-or-treaters.
  3. Add your home to the Teal Pumpkin Project map.
  4. Share the Teal Pumpkin Project with your friends and family. Spread the word! 

Our Experience – From a Family with Allergies

We have a child with peanut and milk allergies.  Each year she gets older it becomes harder and harder to dwindle down the candy bucket to only a few safe pieces. 

The kids (ages 3, 5 & 7) absolutely love to go Trick or Treating and look forward to it every year.  Unfortunately about 95% of the candy they bring home is chocolate including a decent amount of peanut candy. On the bright side, one of our neighbors gives out mini play dough every year.  Our kids never get tired of play dough.

Not many Trick or Treaters came to our door last year.  Many kids were really excited for stamps and stickers. What stuck out to me was a father extremely appreciative to get non-candy treats for his kids.

What should I pass out for Halloween

This post may contain affiliate links, you can read my affiliate disclosure here.

There are plenty of options for fun non candy treat ideas below. Many people like to have two buckets and allow kids to choose from the candy bucket, or the non-candy bucket.

Avoid Glitter

Quick note on glitter.  Personally I would not buy anything with glitter.  Not only is glitter annoying when it sticks to EVERYTHING, it is bad for the environment. Glitter is a form of micro-plastics which are polluting the ocean.  Read about micro-beads here.

Non Candy Treat Ideas

  • These are all kid friendly candy alternatives for the Teal Pumpkin Project.
  • Buy a few different smaller items and mix and match, or buy a few bigger items. It’s all up to you.

Glow Sticks. (Bonus – keeps kids visible to cars)

Stickers or Stamps

Play Dough


12 Pack Bubbles


Realistic Bugs or Mini Figurines

Finger Puppets

Vinyl Finger Puppets

Puzzles Activities & Games

1 Dozen Small Activity Books

BONUS – Healthier Candy

Organic Lolipops – Free of the Major Allergens

Facebook Comments About the Teal Pumpkin Project

“we take our allergy child out with us so she can be with her neighbors and siblings, and swap out for safe candy afterwards. But its hard for her to watch the candy she “earned” and picked out be thrown away (or worse, given to siblings! 😂), even when we replace it with safe candy.”

“I do this just for the sake of NOT passing out candy. Our kids so do not need MORE candy.”

“Why deprive a child of dressing up and going out like everyone else just over what they might get in the bag? Most of the fun is going out in costume, not the treats.”

“We dont “expect” anyone to offer non-candy treats. But raising awareness of allergies and alternatives isn’t forcing anyone. And I have found a surprising number of people who, like me, never considered an alternative to candy before and are pleased to offer something alongside (or in place of) candy.”

“Last year I had my teal pumpkin out with a bin of just prizes and a bin of candy and let kids choose from either bin. You know what? Given the choice I found more kids preferred the toys! I have nut allergies, my daughter is allergic to peanuts, my best friend’s daughter can’t have any sugar candy because she has Prader Willi Syndrome, and my niece has spinal muscular atrophy and is fed by g-tube. This is so much bigger than kids with food allergies. I will enthusiastically support the teal pumpkin project again this year!”

“This is such a great thing. Not just for kids with food allergies but also for kids who have feeding tubes and don’t eat anything by mouth. Gives them the opportunity to be able to participate along with other kids”

“Toys are a blessing for some people who have food disorders”

What did you decide to handout this year? Are you participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project? Leave a comment and let me know!

2 Comments on Why People Are Painting Pumpkins Teal for Halloween

  1. Dear Pauline,
    I stumbled onto your site by coincidence (or maybe fate) while I was searching up info on what kinds of straws to purchase (silicone vs. stainless steel). I wondered which material would leave the least impact on our environment, and also be toxin-free. I don’t have kids, but I have a two-and-a-half- year niece, and a newphew due October (baby sprinkle is today!). So, this article is also on point, which I’m going to share with my older sister. I didn’t think about it before, but now I’m starting to see how toxins are found in a lot of things, especially children’s toys. Your site has a lot of useful info for someone like me who wants to weed out plastics / toxins in her life. You have a very important message to share with the world, and I’d like to collaborate with you. I don’t see any other way to contact you, except through here. My email is krystal[at], and I specialize in proofreading (and editing if desired) blog posts. No post is too old to proofread and/or edit. Thank you for your time and blog!

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