For children with allergies, Halloween treats can be a matter of life or death. An initiative started by parents called the Teal Pumpkin Project is helping children with allergies take part in the fun holiday without putting their health at risk with Halloween candy.
Becky Basalone of Knoxville, Tennessee, had attended a Halloween party for children with allergies two years ago and brought along a pumpkin painted in the color for allergy awareness, which was teal. She later decided to put in on her front porch to signal that she had treats that were safe for children with allergies. “At the same time, it empowered my children, who were so willing to explain to people why we had a teal pumpkin,” said Basalone.
Food Allergy Research & Education offered to promote the idea nationwide after they picked it up on social media, launching the Teal Pumpkin Project. “The Teal Pumpkin Project is an easy way to make a big impact in your community. Food allergies can be life-threatening, and they affect 1 in 13 children in the United States. We are thrilled to see so many people embracing the Teal Pumpkin Project as a way to ensure kids with food allergies can enjoy a safe, fun Halloween experience just like their friends," said Veronica LaFemina, a spokeswoman for the group.
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The Teal Pumpkin Project encourages people to offer non-food treats such as stickers, temporary tattoos, small toys and crayons for children with allergies who go trick-or-treating. Households can place a teal pumpkin by their door to let parents and children know that they provide safe treats.
Parents like Ellie Sears, whose three-year-old daughter Sarah has allergies, are happy that the Teal Pumpkin Project allows their children to experience the fun of Halloween without getting allergies. “It’s totally optional. So if you don't want to do it, you don't have to do it, but if you just want to make that extra step, families like us, we are overjoyed by it,” said Sears.
— Scott Kleinberg (@scottkleinberg) October 17, 2014