Why People Will Be Painting Their Pumpkins Teal This Halloween

It's an effort to make trick-or-treating safe and fun for kids with and without food allergies.

Whether you carve or paint, it’s practically an obligation to decorate any pumpkin you get your hands on. While Halloween will look quite different this year, some things never change. But for some people, the decorations are about more than creating a seasonal work of art. If you see any pumpkins painted teal this Halloween, take note. They have a very important meaning.

Halloween can be an exhausting time for families with children who have food allergies, especially to ingredients commonly found in candy. It’s seemingly impossible to know what kind of candy and food will be placed into your child’s bag—and which may pose an immense threat to their health and well-being. In fact, according to the Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE), one in 13 American children has a food allergy, about two in every classroom. Here’s why we pass out candy on Halloween in the first place.

Fortunately, FARE’s Teal Pumpkin Project strives to create a happy and safe Halloween for children with and without allergies. Porches decorated with teal pumpkins during trick-or-treating indicate that non-food treats are being offered at that particular household. Some examples include stickers, bubbles, or glow sticks. If you want to participate, you can also give out any of these non-candy Halloween treat options.

The now-worldwide movement was launched as a national campaign in 2014, but it was initially inspired by a local allergy awareness activity that took place in eastern Tennessee. The color teal was already associated with food allergy awareness, hence the teal-colored pumpkin. Want to personalize your teal pumpkin? Here are 27 free pumpkin carving stencils to try out.

FARE has yet to release their map for Halloween 2020, showing where people in the United States will be participating. But there’s no doubt that people around the United States will be painting pumpkins teal—even during this unusual year. Next, learn some more trick-or-treating safety tips everyone should follow.

For more fun facts, costume ideas, traditions, candy inspiration, spooky entertainment, and updates on how October 31 will look different this year, check out our Halloween Guide.

Brittany Gibson
Brittany Gibson is a regular contributor to RD.com’s culture, food, health, and travel sections. She was previously an editorial intern for RD.com and Westchester Magazine. Her articles have appeared on Buzzfeed, Business Insider, AOL, Yahoo, and MSN, among other sites. She earned a BA in English from the University of Connecticut