Last week, I did a story about teal pumpkins and what it means if you see any while trick-or-treating this Halloween. In case you didn't know, a teal pumpkin means that the house is handing out "non-food items" for Halloween. More on that later. One mother says that people and kids with food allergies should just suck it up and that "Your kid’s problem isn’t mine".

Before we get started, there are a few things I'd like to explain. I won't be linking to her story for a few reasons. One being, I don't want her story to receive any more hits as a result of this one because I think it's gross. Secondly, I don't want her to receive any colorful responses as a result of this story. I don't think she really cares or she wouldn't have written the piece she did in the first place, but whatever. I will instead be quoting from her story, verbatim. You have my word. I have no need to misrepresent what she's said in an effort to make my point. You may actually agree with her, and if you do you're completely entitled to that, as is she, and I acknowledge that.

I'd also like to state that thankfully, none of my three children have any food allergies, so I'm not commenting from a scorned parent's point of view who feels like I need to defend them.

No, I'm commenting from a scorned human being's point of view who is appalled at this sort of needless insensitivity. I'm also commenting as a scorned broadcaster of over 20 years who can't understand how anyone could deem a post like this to be beneficial in any real way.

Judi, who lives in New Jersey, begins with "What did we do before the teal pumpkin idea? Well, we figured it out. You scoped out the food selection before your kids did, or maybe you even, God forbid, told your kids that they couldn’t trick-or-treat this year and gave them an opportunity to do some other fun Halloween activity."

Well, we didn't do anything before teal pumpkins, because the majority of Americans didn't have to. According to abcnews.go.com, hospital admissions for food allergies have risen 400% in the last decade. Private insurance claim lines with diagnoses of anaphylactic food reactions rose by 377% between 2007 to 2016. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention report food allergies in children increased 18% during 1997-2007 alone.

Foodalergy.org reports -

  • Researchers estimate that up to 15 million Americans have food allergies, including 5.9 million children under age 18. That’s 1 in 13 children, or roughly two in every classroom.
  • About 30 percent of children with food allergies are allergic to more than one food.
  • About 40 percent of children with food allergies have experienced a severe allergic reaction such as anaphylaxis.

Serious food allergies in children are far greater now then they ever have been. Some of them are so severe that if a child with peanut allergies even picks up a candy containing peanuts, they can go into anaphylaxis. You can say that these reports are "fake news" and joke it off if you want to, but it's no joke when a kid's throat closes from an allergic reaction.

It may not be the child who has the allergies either. The teal pumpkin simply signifies that non-food treats will be given out. It could be that one of the parents has a severe food allergy and they don't want to chance a reaction by having the candy in the house. The teal pumpkin in no way is infringing on any kid's Halloween happiness. The teal pumpkin is not the "wussification of America". It's trying to keeping people and children from potentially dangerous situations.

Judi goes on to say "To me, the direction the world is moving in now is difficult for MANY people so as to make it easier for a FEW people. By that I mean, in order to make things easier for the minority, the majority has to shuffle, switch, redesign, finagle and otherwise go out of their way to be accommodating".

What about a house giving out non-food Halloween treats is causing anyone to "shuffle, switch, redesign, finagle and otherwise go out of their way"? Seriously, what sort of an inconvenience does this cause? No one is trying to force people to put teal pumpkins out and not give out candy because of another child's food allergies. Judi, if you think that is what's going on here, you truly don't understand what any of this means.

Later in her post Judi says "I think it sends a really bad message to kids to imply that everyone should have to accommodate them for their problems rather than the other way around. And I also think it makes people stronger when they have an issue like this and have to figure out a way around it."

I see where you're coming from Judi and I agree with you sort of, although you're incredibly misguided here. My problems, and my children's problems are indeed our own and should impose on no one. However, a food allergy that someone is born with is not a "problem". It's a very serious medical condition. We're not talking about picky eaters, we're talking about a child's health and a potentially fatal situation. Using this logic, if a child who's wheelchair bound comes to my house trick-or-treating and can't get up the driveway to get some candy, I should just say "Oh well kid, tough luck. I'm not going to be forced to deal with your problem"?

Lastly, Judi closes with "And lest you think my children do not suffer from serious shortcomings/disabilities/inherent challenges, nothing could be further from the truth. But I’ve always taught my kids to use their shortcomings to their advantage – as an opportunity to learn to grow and to strategize through difficulty. That’s the way you make tough kids, instead of snowflakes."

I wish nothing but happiness, health and success for your children. I wish them all the courage in the world for going through and dealing with whatever their situations are. I don't need to have ever met your children to wish this for them. I wish this for them because they're children, and they deserve respect, compassion and understanding. This whole teal pumpkin food allergies thing has nothing to do with raising "snowflakes". It has everything to do with making efforts to keep kids safe, and to also possibly show them some compassion and understanding. Don't you think a kid with food allergies would rather not have those allergies?

From foodallergy.org -

  • Food allergy limits a major life activity and may qualify an individual for protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
  • Caring for children with food allergies costs U.S. families nearly $25 billion annually.
  • About 1 in 3 children with food allergy reports being bullied as a result.
  • Compared to children who do not have a medical condition, children with food allergy are twice as likely to be bullied.

My wife and I have never displayed a teal pumpkin for Halloween, but for as long as I can remember we have had both candy and non-food Halloween prizes in case a child has food allergies. Why would we do such a thing? Because it's the obvious, decent and easy thing to do for a kid to help them have a great Halloween.