Trick-or-treating can be really scary. And no, we’re not just talking about all spooky skeletons hanging in the trees and the witches wandering the streets looking for candy — we’re talking about allergens. Children who suffer from severe food allergies, such as reactions to nuts, milk, egg, soy, or wheat, may not know if the candy they received is OK to eat. And that’s why some houses will display teal pumpkins this Halloween.
The Teal Pumpkin Project, which was created by the nonprofit organization Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), is encouraging households to paint a pumpkin teal and place it on their front porch, indicating that the house is giving out non-food items like small toys, stickers, and crayons so that kids with allergies will be able to enjoy Halloween without fear of accidentally triggering a trip to the emergency room. A teal pumpkin on your doorstep next to your normal orange jack-o’-lanterns will signify that you have allergy-free offerings.
The project may have more of an impact than you think, considering the fact that 1 in 13 children now has an allergy. That’s an average of two kids in every elementary school class.
“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, spokeswoman for FARE, in a statement.
To get started, you can buy some teal paint or print out a flyer to let parents know that you will be handing out non-edibles or allergen-free treats to little monsters on Halloween. Then hand out all of the goodies.
Joanna Fantozzi and Carolyn Menyes contributed to this report.