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Tag: Halloween

The Teal Pumpkin Project = Allergy-Safe Trick-or-Treating

The Teal Pumpkin Project

Have you heard of the Teal Pumpkin Project? Begun by FARE  (Food Allergy Research & Education) and in its third year, pumpkins painted a bluey-green teal indicate a house that hands out food-allergy-safe/non-food items on Halloween to trick-or-treaters.

This year, my house will be joining in. We will be handing out glow bracelets instead of candy, and we will display a teal pumpkin on our porch. I’ll add a photo here when we make it later this week.

My neighborhood is a Halloween mecca when, in addition to the thousands of kids under 15 who live here, kids from outside the neighborhood pour in by the busload and cars of visitors line the blocks.

Glow bracelets are always a hit!

Like most of our neighbors, we love this holiday and we all deck out our houses in spiderwebs and ghosts and stock up on treats for the 400-600 trick-or-treaters who will come by during the night.

Often the night is so busy that we sit on the porch for a few hours to hand out treats rather than opening and closing the door so frequently. It only ends when we run out of treats and turn out the porch light, usually at about 8 pm after around 500 trick-or-treaters.

One of our neighbors took a timelapse video last year which pretty much shows it all.

For the record, my kids are not happy about not handing out candy this year, even though they will each come home with pounds of candy from their own trick-or-treating efforts. In our house, we compromise on this holiday by confiscating everything containing food dyes but allowing the kids to keep the chocolate treats and, after the initial binge, they can enjoy one a day as a dessert until they are gone.

My daughter ready to hand out Halloween candy from our front porch in 2013.

Between GMOs and high fructose corn syrup and other synthetic sweeteners, here’s what I think of most mainstream candy,

This year we will be giving out glow bracelets instead of candy and wishing everyone a Halloween safe from food allergies!

Lead in Halloween Face Paint and Make Up Can Cause Lasting Problems

Ghosts and goblins are not the only scary things lurking around this Halloween.

A new report by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, Pretty Scary, reveals that some children’s face paints contain lead, a neurotoxin, as well as nickel, cobalt and chromium, which can cause lifelong skin sensitization and contact dermatitis. Creepier yet, these metals were not listed on the products’ ingredient labels and some products had misleading claims (“hypoallergenic”), so parents are hard-pressed to find safe face paints. To learn more about the tests on face paint check out the full report, and for tips to limit your favorite goblin’s exposure to toxic cosmetics this year visit the page with the Campaign’s recommendations (find recipes there, too!).

While this is particularly concerning for parents at this time of year, these products are used year-round at farmers markets, fairs, dress-up and play, and the lack of cosmetic safety standards is a problem that extends to all cosmetics sold in the United States.

Sign the Petition for Safe Cosmetics calling for the removal of toxic chemicals in all cosmetics and personal care products–from face paint to baby shampoo, from body lotion to deodorant. Shouldn’t we be able to trust — or at least see on the label — that the products we buy don’t contain items known to harm us?

Read the full report on lead in Halloween face paint.

Halloween recipe: Monster Heads

Halloween calls for fun foods. That’s when Monster Heads make an appearence at our table.

Monster Heads for Ghoulish Eaters
Monster Heads for Ghoulish Eaters

I place boiled Brussels sprouts atop flat ravioli “shoulders” and affix them with some marinara sauce to make them look particularly bloody. We like to cover them with “snow” or “dandruff” (depending on the child!) by sprinkling with grated Parmesan cheese to top it off.

I trim the end and put a shallow “X” in the base of each Brussels sprout before boiling to help the insides soften to be more amenable to little teeth. I find the smaller heads to be more appetizing for smaller children as they tend to be sweeter and easier to chew.

If your kids find Brussels sprouts bitter, try adding a dash or two of sugar into the boiling water. It will infuse the sprouts with a bit more sweetness.

We typically use cheese or chicken-filled ravioli squares that we get as part of the delivery from our frozen food co-op. With Town and Country Foods, we pay about $119/month to keep our freezer stocked with meats, veggies, and convenience foods like gourmet frozen ravioli.

Talk about making dinner easy! Sometimes I even boil the Brussels sprouts in the same water I use to boil the ravioli — only one pot to clean!

Monster Heads are one of my kids favorite meals, and has made them lovers of Brussels sprouts (who would have thought?). And fall is a great season for Brussels sprouts!