DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – With Halloween approaching, you may be thinking about the tricks and treats you would like to distribute to little ‘ghouls and goblins’ in your neighborhood. However, for many parents, the idea of their child having an allergic reaction to sweet treats is frightening. The Teal Pumpkin Project aims to reduce these potentially life-threatening accidents.
The Food Allergy Research Education organization (FARE) is the world’s largest funder of food allergy research. On Halloween, their goal through the Teal Pumpkin Project is to give the 1 in 13 children who have food allergies opportunities for fun treats while avoiding an allergic reaction.
“In the U.S., there are nine foods that make up 90 percent of food allergies,” said Tiffany Leon, senior manager of training and professional development at FARE. “So peanut, tree nut, fish, shellfish, milk, egg, soy, wheat and sesame. And unfortunately, a lot these things are found in Halloween treats.”
Leon said simply coming in contact with some of these allergens can trigger dangerous reactions, from hives to trouble breathing. To prevent those incidents, the Teal Pumpkin Project encourages non-food alternatives.
“Placing a teal pumpkin outside your home just signifies that your home has non-edible treats like bubbles or markers, crayons, stencils,” she said.
Leon added, its not difficult to get involved. All participants have to do is place a teal pumpkin in a visible area outside their door. This can be a real pumpkin that has been painted, or a ready-made pumpkin from a retailer. This year, thetealpumpkinproject.com will also implement an interactive map on October 1 that allows households to enter their address, signaling their neighbors that they have non-food items. Families who have children with allergies can also check the map to determine who in the community will have safe items available for their children.
One of the best attributes of the program, is that it costs nothing to participate.
“In fact, participating households can add their addresses to the map and you can be entered to win an AmEx gift card,” said Leon.
To learn more about the Teal Pumpkin Project, click here.