If your kid has food allergies, trick-or-treating can be a seriously scary evening out. Many kids are unable to eat items like milk, peanuts, eggs, and soy — ingredients found in many popular Halloween candies. But the Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) group is raising awareness and making Halloween fun again for kids who may have had to previously sit this holiday out.
The Teal Pumpkin Project launched in 2014, is designed to encourage inclusiveness on Halloween by making it easy for kids and their families to spot the houses offering allergy-friendly treats. Because of the vast array of allergies, participating houses may even opt to have “non-food treats” such as small toys, books, stickers or crayons.
Participating houses are instructed to paint a pumpkin the color teal and put it on their porch or stoop in an obvious location. This way, parents will know that house is safe for their family to stop.
“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,” Veronica LaFemina, a spokeswoman for the organization, told CNN.
Families looking to participate can visit FARE’s website for more information and other great ideas for non-food treats.
Worried your neighborhood might not have any houses in the Project? The website has a map where you can register your own house as a Teal Pumpkin house, and also see where other participants are in your area.
Researchers estimate that up to 15 million Americans have food allergies, including about 5.9 million children under 18 — or about 1 in every 13 children. About 30 percent of children with food allergies are allergic to more than one food.
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention reports that food allergies are becoming more common in children, increasing by 50 percent from 1997 to 2011. The prevalence of peanut or tree allergies has more than tripled between 1997 and 2008.
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