If you’ve been on social media lately, you might have seen the posts about a new tradition to trick-or-treating: the Teal Pumpkin. The idea behind the campaign, which was founded last year by Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), is to paint a pumpkin teal and put it on your porch during Halloween, letting passing trick-or-treaters know that you have non-food related treats available for those with potential food allergies or other issues.
I remember seeing the posts gain steam last year, but it has gained much more attention this year. Though no one in my house had food allergies, we did have our own challenges with Halloween candy – my brother couldn’t have anything gummy for years because of dental work, and I was *very* particular about my choice of chocolate. But I know lots of people who did suffer from severe food allergies, so I can imagine how beneficial something like this would have been for them!
The Teal Pumpkin project is just getting started though, and while it’s definitely growing in the vocabulary of American Halloween, it’s still not quite a common symbol. When you think about “symbols” of a cause, most of us probably picture things like the pink ribbons for breast cancer awareness, which are just as prevalent this month as pumpkins. One of my favorites is the puzzle piece ribbons for Autism awareness, which seems to say so much more about the disease than just a colored strip of fabric.
When it comes to designing for non-profits or charity causes, it’s good to remember different ways to remind people of what you’re there for. Symbols like the disease awareness ribbons exist to help organizations identify and raise awareness of important causes. Colors and image associations can help to link your campaign together. Sometimes it’s as simple as presenting something that people are familiar with in a different way – like a teal pumpkin!