Display a Teal Pumpkin This Halloween for Food-Allergy Kids
One of the many concerns around Halloween is what to hand out to trick-or-treaters. Candy is typically the top choice but what about for those kids with allergies?
The Food Allergy Research and Education suggests families take part in the Teal Pumpkin Project. CEO Lisa Gable said the project is when someone puts a teal pumpkin on their doorstep on Halloween to signify that in addition to candy, they have non-food treats that are available to children with food allergies.
The project hopes to raise awareness of food allergies and to create a safer, more inclusive Halloween for all trick-or-treaters.
The program started in 2012 by a mom as a grassroots effort. In 2014, FARE started putting money and activity behind the project, taking it nationally.
Gable said last year, nearly 800 families participated in the Teal Pumpkin Project. Already, this year she has seen a 16% increase in people signing up.
"So I'm hoping that we have 1,000-plus families that are having teal pumpkins on their doorstep on Halloween," she added.
Gable said the most common food allergies for children include milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish, shellfish and sesame.
Alternate Halloween treats for kids with allergies include colored pencils, little pads of paper, stickers, plastic rings, small Play-Doh sets, crayons — just a wide variety of fun goodies that children would find entertaining.
Gable said a person can purchase a teal pumpkin online at many big box retailer sites or they can paint an orange pumpkin teal and decorate it.
She said FARE is excited about the Teal Pumpkin Project because it allows them to elevate the need for more research into treatment for food allergies. Gable said kids have to avoid the allergens and if they accidentally ingest one, they have to take an epinephrine auto-injector and then go to the emergency room. There are some peanut therapies that they hope the FDA approves soon.
"But we hope people really help FARE fund the research necessary so kids can participate in a whole gamut of Halloween," said Gable.
In New Jersey, there are two known Teal Pumpkin Project events. One is The Teal Pumpkin Spooktacular on Oct. 27 at The Willow School in Gladstone from 1 to 4 p.m. The other is the Teal Pumpkin Trick-or-Treating on Oct. 31 at Hazel Baby & Kids in Jersey City from 5 to 7 p.m.