For kids who have food allergies, Halloween can be a scary time for them and their parents but food allergy experts are hoping the Teal Pumpkin Project will bring more safety to the holiday.
“One in 13 kids have food allergies, that means roughly two in every classroom,” said Veronica LaFemina, vice president of communications for Food Allergy Research & Education. “There is a good chance that a child on your block or in your neighborhood are dealing with food allergies.”
Experts from the FARE nonprofit created the Teal Pumpkin Project, a campaign that encourages people to raise awareness of food allergies, LaFemina said.
“This is the first year the Teal Pumpkin Project is being promoted by Food Allergy Research & Education,” LaFemina said. “It was inspired by a community in East Tennessee that started similar project in locally last year.”
Posts about the project were launched on the FARE Facebook page and raked in more than 5.2 million views, LaFemina said.
To participate, paint a pumpkin teal, the color of food allergyawareness or print out the sign from the FARE website and place it out on Halloween, LaFemina said. Instead of giving out candy, go to the dollar store and pick out some small toys.
“There are a lot of great options for inexpensive non-food treats,” she said. “Eyeball bouncy balls, spider rings, vampire teeth. Kids get excited about those.”
Other families can benefit from the non-food treats including families with diabetes, Celiac Disease or those who don’t want their children eating candy.
“Food allergies are potentially life threatening,” LaFemina said. “We’re talking about children who quite literally a small amount of food could send them to the emergency room. With non-food treats, all of the trick-or-treaters that come to your door can leave with a big smile.”
For more information about the Teal Pumpkin Project and how you can participate, visit the website.