October 6, 2016

Making Halloween Less Scary for Children with Food Allergies

Teal is the new orange for Halloween.

Porches that hold a teal pumpkin are sending a message to children with food allergies that trick-or-treating here means nonfood treats are in store. In lieu of candy, which many children cannot eat, the Teal Pumpkin Project encourages households to give simple treats of bubbles, erasers or other nonedible novelties.

The Teal Pumpkin Project began in Tennessee as a grassroots effort and was launched nationwide by Food Allergy and Research Education in 2014. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 5 percent of all children in the US suffer from food allergies.

Taboo items include milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, wheat, soy, peanuts and tree nuts. Households that participate in Halloween trick-or-treating can always provide nonfood and food items.

Suggested alternatives to candy include:

  • Glow sticks, bracelets or necklaces
  • Pencils, pens, crayons or markers
  • Bubbles
  • Halloween erasers or pencil toppers
  • Mini Slinkys
  • Whistles, kazoos or noisemakers
  • Bouncy balls
  • Finger puppets or novelty toys
  • Coins
  • Spider rings
  • Vampire fangs
  • Mini notepads
  • Playing cards
  • Bookmarks
  • Stickers
  • Stencils

Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) advised that the treats be kept separate to avoid cross-contamination and simply ask the costumed carousers if they would prefer a nonfood treat.

FARE works on behalf of the 15 million Americans with food allergies, including all those at risk for life-threatening anaphylaxis. FARE’s mission is to improve the quality of life and the health of individuals with food allergies, and to provide them hope through the promise of new treatments.

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