Last night, when scrolling through my Facebook feed, something caught my attention. The Today Show published a story about the Teal Pumpkin Project, and a smile spread across my face.
What a wonderful initiative!
The Teal Pumpkin Project is a national campaign by Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) to raise awareness of food allergies and promote inclusion of all trick-or-treaters throughout the Halloween season.
Participating is simple.
Just paint a pumpkin teal, place it and a free printable sign on your front porch, and keep non-food treats available for trick-or-treaters who have food allergies.
My smile fell when I started to read the negative comments from people trolling around, sucking joy from such a positive cause.
Some of the comments were rude.
And then there were those that were a complete waste of my life.
Against my better judgment, I’d like to address these folks directly:
Dear Teal Pumpkin Project Facebook trolls,
Hi. My name is Brynne. Although I have celiac disease now, I didn’t as a child.
I was a normal kid. I went trick-or-treating. I ate all kinds of candy. I loved dressing up in a costume and hunting for the best treats with my friends.
I do not have children, and I do not personally know any kids with food allergies.
Yet, I can find it in my heart to feel for kids with food allergies on Halloween.
I can imagine being a 5-year-old who can’t eat 90% of my hard earned Halloween candy. Or worse, being told by my parents that I need to stay home because of my food allergy, while my friends are out having the time of their lives.
I haven’t experienced this personally, but it sounds terrible.
I. can. not.
For the life of me.
Figure out why anyone would be opposed to the Teal Pumpkin Project.
You would have thought someone just suggested canceling Halloween.
No one suggested that at all. You are free to go about Halloween as you normally do. With your normal kids and normal life. Go ahead and take a second to enjoy the fact that your life doesn’t revolve around food.
Even though this cause doesn’t directly impact you, maybe you can use this as an opportunity to teach your children to consider the feelings of those who are different – someone other than themselves.
This has nothing to do with parents asking you to “take care” of their kids, and everything to do with providing a normal, positive experience to children who don’t always get one.
If the idea of that offends you, your existence offends me.
Food allergies are real and on the rise. It is estimated that 15 million Americans have food allergies. It affects one in every 13 children (under the age of 18) in the U.S. They have increased in children by approximately 50% between 1997 and 2011.
It’s the reality of the world we live in.
Please, take a step back and put yourself in the shoes of a child with food allergies this Halloween. Because that’s what this is all about.
Gluten-Free Hungry Gal