UNF Dining Services encourages students to go teal on Halloween for allergy awareness

Sarah Bethea

While decorating pumpkins is a cute way to have a little seasonal fun, the important message some may spread is the real takeaway.  In fact, Wednesdays between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. is a busy time at Osprey Plaza, where Market Days are held every week. Vendors and clubs from around UNF give away goodies and entice students to check out what they have to offer. The most recent Market Day on Oct. 17, however,  featured a DIY teal pumpkin decorating area at the UNF Dining Services booth.

In the last few years, teal pumpkins have started popping up outside of homes during the Halloween season. While not a traditional “spooky” color, teal is the color for food allergy awareness. By placing a teal pumpkin outside of your home, you are indicating that there are non-food goodies available as an alternative for those trick-or-treaters who suffer from food allergies, or for those for whom which candy is not an option.

This is otherwise known as the Teal Pumpkin Project. The project came to life in 2014 when Becky Basalone and the Food Allergy Community of East Tennessee teamed up with Food Allergy Research and Education in order to spread the idea of allergy awareness during Halloween. This concept was birthed after her own children suffered from food allergies.

Brianna Ballard, the assistant marketing director for UNF Dining Services, says that by participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project, you’re giving everyone an opportunity to have fun.

“Who wants to say ‘no’ to their child, that they can’t go trick-or-treating because they might have an allergic reaction, which is terrible! With having a teal pumpkin, it represents either a non-edible treat or it’s just a safer treat that doesn’t have the top eight allergens,” Ballard said.

The top eight allergens are milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soy. One in 13 children usually has some food allergy. Therefore,  a few examples of non-food treats for Halloween include stickers, small toys, glow bracelets and bubbles.

To find out more about the Teal Pumpkin Project and how you can get involved, visit the FARE Teal Pumpkin Project FAQs page.

For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].