Teal pumpkin project helps kids with food allergies enjoy trick-or-treating

WASHINGTON — Trick-or-treating on Halloween night can be very tricky for children with food allergies and their parents.

Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE), a McLean, Virginia-based nonprofit that helps people with food allergies, has launched the Teal Pumpkin Project in order to help kids with allergies receive more treats they can keep.

“At least one or two kids right down the block from you are not able to enjoy Halloween in the same way most of their friends do,” said Nancy Gregory with FARE.

The program encourages homeowners to hand out nonfood items on Halloween night. Placing a painted teal on the door step will let children and parents know that they have safe options for trick-or-treaters with food allergies.

Gregory said painting a real pumpkin teal with the family can serve as a teachable moment as parents talk to children about allergies to food or beverages such as wheat, peanuts and milk.

No teal pumpkin? No problem. A printable sign is also available to families who want to offer treat options for kids with allergies.

Gregory said picking up nonfood items doesn’t have to break the bank because many dollar stores offer items such as glow sticks, bracelets, spider rings and other toys that don’t cost a lot of money.

The nonfood items will brighten the lives of kids who normally have to give away their Halloween loot because they are allergic to ingredients of the candies they received.

“Kids with food allergies should be included in that same fun, the same way everyone else is,” Gregory said.

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