This Halloween Teal and Blue are The New Orange for Parents of Children With Food Allergies, Autism ūüéÉ

Autism and Food Allergies Awareness at Halloween

Blue Pumpkin Bucket with Teal Pumpkin watercolor and ink by Julianna Paradisi 2019

This Halloween, Teal and Blue are the new orange for parents of children with food allergies, and autism.

Recently, I learned of two newish movements that merit recognition for championing the health and happiness of children while trick or treating. Both choose pumpkins of different shades of blue to alert the public to their causes.

Teal Pumpkins Help Children with Food Allergies Participate in Halloween Fun

How difficult Halloween must be for parents of children with food allergies! Imagine taking your favorite Disney character or Marvel superhero trick or treating, only to remove almost the entire loot from their buckets or bags at home, because most trick or treat candies contain allergens like dairy products, peanuts, dyes, etc. It must be heartbreaking to have to explain to your child¬†again¬†why they can’t eat the same goodies other kids do.

The Teal Pumpkin Project offers an inclusive alternative for children with food allergies at Halloween. By placing a teal pumpkin outside your door, you signal to children with food allergies and their parents that you are giving out non-food items for treats. The website creates neighborhood maps of homes offering non-food item treats, and you can add your home. Or, simply paint a real pumpkin from a pumpkin patch or grocery store teal, and put it on your doorstep or windowsill.

Here’s a list of inexpensive non-food items from their website:

Glow sticks, bracelets, or necklaces
Pencils, pens, crayons or markers
Halloween erasers or pencil toppers
Mini Slinkies
Whistles, kazoos, or noisemakers
Bouncy balls
Finger puppets or novelty toys
Spider rings
Vampire fangs
Mini notepads
Playing cards

They do caution that some modeling clay products may contain wheat, and avoid products with latex. Age appropriateness and avoiding choking hazards should also be considered.

Blue Halloween Pumpkin Buckets: Be considerate of children, teenagers, and young adults with Autism enjoying Halloween

This Halloween, you may notice children, teenagers, and young adults carrying blue plastic pumpkin buckets. This became a thing last year when a mother wrote a social media post that went viral, asking people to please not require her non-verbal three year-old to say, “Trick or Treat!” to receive candy. She went on to explain that Halloween can be an engaging social event for children, teenagers, or young adults with autism, so be considerate of those who don’t respond verbally, or appear to be a bit “old” for trick or treating. This is good advice even if a person isn’t carrying a blue Halloween pumpkin bucket, because by showing kindness to strangers some have entertained angels unawares.

Blue pumpkin candy buckets can be purchased online.

Celebrations are more enjoyable when no one is left out. I’m grateful for opportunities to make Halloween activities fun for all.




Close Encounters at The Grocery Store: Thanksgiving

It’s the weekend before Thanksgiving, and I’m grocery shopping. Pushing a cart through¬†throngs of people looking for that special can of yams, I wish I’d pinned a sign reading,¬†“Don’t follow, Makes frequent stops,”¬†to my rear, so people might stop running into me.

photo: jparadisi 2012

photo: jparadisi 2012

Surprisingly, most of the shoppers are in good moods. I hear the words, “Excuse me,” “After you,” over and over.¬†Only the very young adults, shopping for holiday meal preparations for the first time, I presume, express out loud their bewilderment at the crowds. Suddenly,¬†their attention to space and time is required. This means they have to get¬†out of the way while text messaging, instead of stopping abruptly in the middle of an aisle where more seasoned shoppers will trample them.

In the produce section I pull a thin plastic bag from a dwindling roll to fill with Brussels sprouts. Another woman¬†poises¬†to do the same. I’m sure she’s a nurse, like me, although I will never know. Simultaneously, we pause at the large bin of loose sprouts, realizing we have to gather them with our bare hands, because there is not even a rudimentary tool for the task. We eye each other, smile, then I say, “Wow, how many pairs of dirty hands have been in this bin before mine?”

She laughs. “I know,” she says, “I’m thinking the same thing. I’m going to have to scrub these well, and remove the outer leaves.”

“Me too,” I say.

I’m sure she’s a nurse.

Happy Thanksgiving from JParadisiRN

*This post was originally published on JParadisiRN in November 2012. 

Velcome to My FrankenMess: When Art & Food Go Awry

Velcome to My FrankenMess. photo: jparadisi 2012

Welcome to my FrankenMess. For Halloween, I tried dipping pretzel sticks into melted icing to make them look like candy corn on a stick, √† la Pinterest. This is what they turned out looking like before I gave up. I’m an artist, damn it! Curse You, Pinterest!!!

Have a Happy and Safe Halloween!

Merry Christmas and Thanks for the Wings

photo by jparadisi 2011

“Dear George, remember no man is a failure who has friends. Thanks for the wings, Love Clarence.”~

Clarence Oddbody, It’s a Wonderful Life

Merry Christmas to the friends and readers of JParadisi RN blog. Wishing you joy, health, love and prosperity in the New Year.

Snowbound for the Holidays


Portland in a water-glass. photo: JParadisi 2009

¬†¬†¬†¬† While drinking my morning coffee, I noticed a perfect reflection of Portland in a water-glass¬†on¬†the window sill. The glass is holding a start of a cactus¬†I’m¬†hoping will¬†root. My imagination¬†lit up to the¬†concept of a city, held in a drinking glass.

¬† I have a¬†dear friend,¬†living in Nebraska, where there is a recording-breaking snow storm.¬† The drifts of snow in her front yard stand up to 10 feet high. She’s snowed in with her animals, waiting¬†for snowplows to remove the snow. ¬†Her¬† Christmas cards wait on a table¬†for mailing. ¬†A¬†woman¬†and her pets, held in a home on a prairie,¬†surrounded by snow.

¬†¬†¬†¬† Here in Oregon, I have¬†the flu. (Those of you¬†following this blog know¬†I had the¬† H1N1 vaccination).¬† An artist held in the soft blankets of her bed, or sometimes the sofa. My Christmas cards¬†remain unwritten this year.¬†Figuratively speaking, I’m a little snowed in myself.

     My friend in Nebraska is also an artist, and in an email to her, I wrote:

¬†¬†¬†¬† I’m itching to get back to the studio. The balance between family and creativity is always tilted one way or another. But it’s family that makes us human, and art should serve humanity, not the other way around.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†A life can be¬†snow bound for¬†many reasons. It’s not an accident¬†that the western New Year falls on the heels of Christmas, giving¬†us an opportunity to start over, following a holiday season that¬†sometimes leaves us feeling depleted, or bloated, for a variety of reasons. The snow will melt, the flu will pass.

     And sunlight shines on Portland in a water-glass.


I Wish I’d Said It

Room 6 photo: JParadisi

    My hope that I would have a whole series of empty days, days without interruption, days in which to think and laze, (for creation depends as much on laziness as on hard work), was of course, impossible.

                                                                  May Sarton


Thanksgiving Day 2009

photograph by Adriana Paradisi

Thanksgiving is the holiday of peace, the celebration of work and the simple life…a true folk-festival that speaks the poetry of the turn of the seasons, the beauty of seedling and harvest, the ripe product of the year-and the deep, deep, connection of all of these things…

David Grayson

     Wishing safe travel for everyone on the roads today.  Thanks to all of the nursing and medical professionals who are missing holiday meals with their loved ones so that patients can  receive care in hosptials and nursing facilities.  Happy Thanksgiving to all!