Coloradans out trick-or-treating for Halloween are sure to see all sorts of decorated jack-o'-lanterns. But people with food allergies may be hoping some of those pumpkins are painted teal.
The Teal Pumpkin Project is a nationwide awareness campaign. It was inspired by a Tennessee parent that wanted to signal they had non-food treats for kids with allergies or dietary restrictions -- so they placed a painted teal pumpkin in front of their home on Halloween.
“It might be a very simple gesture,” says Nancy Gregory with Food Allergy Research and Education, an organization supporting the project. “But it means quite a bit to a child who may be accustomed to having come up with some sort of alternate tradition.”
Many popular Halloween candies contain one of the major allergens, like milk or nuts. According to Gregory, one in 13 kids in America have a food allergy that could be life threatening.
“A food allergy diagnosis for most families is very life altering,” she says. “You have to be very vigilant, read ingredient labels, carry epinephrine with you at all times. And often times it means that for certain holidays the kid might feel left out.”
Gregory says having non-food options, like stickers or bouncy balls, helps make Halloween more inclusive.
People can download signs, and find allergy-safe houses in their area ,on the Teal Pumpkin Project website.