Monday, October 20, 2014

The Teal Pumpkin Project - A Lesson In Empathy

A good friend of mine recently posted an article on Facebook about a new color of pumpkin popping up just in time for Halloween. The subject title was "The Teal Pumpkin Project." Curious, I clicked on the link and read about a movement sweeping the nation that makes it possible for all children with food allergies to enjoy the aftermath of trick-or-treating a little more. Or more importantly, in my opinion, it gives the parents of these kids a little piece of mind knowing there are food-less options out there that won't cause an allergic reaction.

After reading this article, and many others, I decided to turn this great idea into a lesson in empathy. What does it mean to have a food allergy? Who has food allergies? What exactly are the kids allergic to in foods? We sat down and discussed these questions, and more, in order to understand why exactly we were getting ready to paint a pumpkin teal. Busy remembered that one of her best friends from preschool had a peanut allergy so she couldn't eat peanut butter for lunch, but other than that, she had very little knowledge about food allergies. We did some research and learned that there are many different food allergies, the most common ones being nuts, milk, shellfish, eggs and gluten. We then talked about what foods have these ingredients and what happens when kids experience an allergic reaction. Then armed with all of this new information we got to painting…

What You Need:

  • White pumpkin
  • Teal paint
  • paint brush
  • clear and/or glitter spray paint
  • Food free treats such as stickers, glow sticks, match box cars, spider rings, temporary tattoos, nail polish and any other fun things you can find in the discount isle at Target or at the Dollar Store. 
What To Do:
  1. I began by mixing my own teal with the paint colors we already had. You can of course buy teal paint (although I have never seen it in a large bottle), but I'm cheap ;)
  2. When you achieve your desired shade, get to painting! 
  3. Once dried, we spray painted ours with glitter, then sealed it with a clear coat of spray paint. (optional)
  4. Put it at your front door to show trick-or-treaters that you have food free options for kids with allergies! 
  5. Then sit back and be proud of the fact that you are part of a nation wide Teal Pumpkin Project :) Congrats!

The shade that worked for us is made using this formula:

1 part white
1/2 part blue
1/2 part green
1/2 part black
We started out using sponge brushes but switched to
large regular brushes. We never use sponge brushes, and
this project reminded me why...

This is after one coat. We applied another coat once
this one dried. 
The sponge brushes just don't cover as well.
It eventually wipes off what it has put on. 

A quick coat of glitter then gloss...

And voila! It's perfect!! 

And so are these smiles ;)

So there you have it. We are officially a part of the Teal Pumpkin Project! So if you find yourself in our neighborhood this Halloween, stop by for some allergy free treats! 


  1. Hi Tracy! Love this post! I was trying to find your contact information but didn't have any luck. I would love to chat with you briefly next week about this year's Teal Pumpkin Project. Do you mind contacting me at so that we can connect? Thanks so much!

  2. what a great project, thanks for sharing at our Facebook Share Day!