Join us on October 27th for our third annual Teal Pumpkin Spooktacular from 1-4pm on Willow’s campus at 1150 Pottersville Road in Gladstone, NJ! The party, which is open to the public, will feature trick-or-treating for treasures, pumpkin painting, slime making, scarecrow decorating, potion making, spooky story time, and other crafts and games organized by Willow teachers, Meadowbrook Country Day Camp, Toys with Love, Annie’s Playhouse, Schiff Nature Preserve, and Artsi Studio. There will also be a demonstration by Jeon’s Tae Kwon Do! This beloved annual event is fun for the whole family in a safe environment for kids with food allergies.
A suggested donation of $5 benefits Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), whose national Teal Pumpkin Project inspired the party. FARE’s Teal Pumpkin Project promotes safety, inclusion, and respect for individuals managing food allergies. This movement offers a Halloween alternative for kids with allergies, as well as other families that want to celebrate Halloween without the candy. Last year, Willow’s event raised $1,760 for FARE!
“When my daughter, who has nut and sesame allergies, was little, I used to dread Halloween,” said Dominique Wolfe of Bernardsville, a Willow parent and organizer of the Spooktacular. “I didn’t want her to miss out on childhood, but I also couldn’t let her trick-or-treat like other children because I couldn’t trust her not to sneak a candy. I used to give special candy to the neighbors and ask them to give it to her when we rang the doorbell. We were afraid to venture off of our street.”
Wolfe came up with the idea for the school’s first Teal Pumpkin party in 2017, inspired by FARE’s Teal Pumpkin Project. She said it has changed how her family celebrates Halloween for the better. “We love the Teal Pumpkin Spooktacular at Willow because it allows us to participate in all of the Halloween fun, including the costumes and the trick-or-treating, in a safe way,” Dominique said. “We are also grateful that so many local businesses have partnered with us to make this a really special event, not only for children with food allergies, but also for any family that wants to avoid more sugar!”
The Willow School has embraced a nut-free, allergy- and health-conscious approach since it was founded in 2000. “Hosting our annual Teal Pumpkin Halloween Party reflects our commitment to making all children feel safe and included and models the virtues of respect and responsibility which are central to our Virtues Program,” said Francisco Ayala, Willow’s Head of School. “It is a way for us to make all of the children in our school community, and our larger community, feel supported.”
“We received a note from a parent last year saying that Willow’s Teal Pumpkin Party allowed her children to participate in Halloween for the first time ever,” Wolfe added. “I hope more families can say that this year. It makes all the planning worthwhile. There isn’t anything else like this in the area, so I hope people come and take advantage of this special event!”
The Willow School will also be lighting its signs and Farmhouse teal during the month of October to promote food allergy awareness, inspired by Turn it Teal, an organization dedicated to lighting sites in the signature color of food allergy awareness.
All are invited to Willow’s Teal Pumpkin Spooktacular! Please RSVP at willowschool.org/teal-pumpkin-spooktacular.